Statement on USPTO Director Iancu’s Speech to the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association

The following statement can be attributed to Evan Engstrom, Executive Director of Engine.

“Last week, United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu gave a speech to the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association, where he implied that patent trolls were not a real problem faced by innovators, but instead just a “narrative” made up to scare away innovators. Not only is this factually inaccurate, but it is troubling that Director Iancu would ignore the overwhelming data showing that low-quality patents have led to a rash of abusive patent litigation directed towards small companies and entrepreneurs over the past decade.

For a startup, abusive patent litigation is a real threat and one every startup founder dreads. This problem is not going away. In fact, so far this year, non-practicing entities have accounted for more than 80 percent of all patent suits involving small and medium-sized companies. But this problem would be worse if Congress, the courts, and the USPTO had all not worked to implement policy solutions to stop the weaponization of our patent system. In recent years startups have seen patent quality increase and abusive litigation decrease. For startups, the relationship with the patent system has improved dramatically due to these changes and the USPTO should not try to undo those important reforms.    

We strongly agree with Director Iancu that startups are advancing innovation and their achievements should be celebrated. Additionally, we agree that a consistent, predictable, and reliable patent system is the best way to ensure that startups can meaningfully engage with our intellectual property system.”