Adobe and BSA Urge Congress to Support Software Innovation by Improving Patent Quality and Curbing Opportunistic Litigation

Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:01pm EDT

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Adobe VP Dana Rao testifies against Patent Assertion Entity profiteers; stresses
importance of software patents
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Dana Rao, vice president of Intellectual Property and Litigation at Adobe
Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE), today appeared before the House Judiciary
Committee`s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.
Representing Adobe and other members of BSA | The Software Alliance, Rao
testified during the hearing on "Abusive Patent Litigation: The Impact of
American Innovation & Jobs, and Potential Solutions." He spoke on the need to
end abusive patent litigation and preserve the right of software developers to
patent their inventions. 

In his testimony, Rao urged Congress to focus on ending abusive litigation
practices. "Companies like Adobe are overwhelmed by demand letters and suits by
entities that don`t utilize the inventions they own or have any intention of
doing so, but instead focus on making a quick profit by aggressively asserting a
questionable patent. These quick profits are used to buy additional patents,
which are then similarly monetized. No businesses are furthered, no jobs are
created, and no progress of science or the useful arts is promoted," Rao said.
"We believe Congress can make important changes that will help curb
opportunistic litigation. For example, patent law already permits shifting fees
to address abuses of process. But the way the law is being applied, it is a high
standard and rarely met. We should clarify the law, so a court can act when it
sees litigation with telltale signs of abuse such as high plaintiff demands and
low settlement offers - or no business in the field of the patent," Rao added. 

BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman said, "Patents play an important role in
driving software innovation, which benefits the whole economy. But we need to
continue improving the system to ensure patents are not used opportunistically
in ways that disrupt the marketplace. Some will tell you software patents are
the root cause of opportunistic litigation, and the solution is to stop granting
patents on software or to make it much harder. We disagree. We should instead
take practical steps to address the asymmetry of incentives that makes patent
litigation an attractive business model while also continuing to improve the
quality of our already strong patent system." 

To curb abusive patent litigation practices, Rao encouraged Congress to enact
rules more accurately directing judges to impose fees on opportunistic parties
to litigation. "Strengthening Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
also would help. It imposes an affirmative duty on plaintiffs not to file a suit
aimed at harassing or imposing undue costs on a defendant - and it empowers
judges to impose substantial sanctions if the rule is violated." 

Noting that patent litigation abuse has intensely focused on software, Rao also
stressed the importance of software patents to the economy and affirmed the
widely held industry belief that software is deserving of patent protection.
"The software industry is now a critical sector of our economy, contributing
more than $400 billion to our nation`s gross domestic product, employing more
than 2 million U.S. workers, and paying salaries that are roughly 200 percent of
the national average," Rao said. "This vital industry needs intellectual
property protection to continue its development and ensure American leadership
in this area for years to come." 

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information,

About BSA

BSA | The Software Alliance ( is the leading global advocate for the
software industry. It is an association of world-class companies that invest
billions of dollars annually to create software solutions that spark the economy
and improve modern life. Through international government relations,
intellectual property enforcement and educational activities, BSA expands the
horizons of the digital world and builds trust and confidence in the new
technologies driving it forward. 

© 2013 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and the Adobe logo
are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in
the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property
of their respective owners.

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