A new Obama administration initiative designed to make frivolous patent protection lawsuits more difficult to bring may end up protecting credit unions.
Although credit unions have not been the leading victims of the litigation, some have been caught up in some cases which have alleged that their ATMs have violated patents. Some credit unions have settled the suits with fees to the patent holder while others have successfully, so far, defended their positions in court.
The administration's initiative includes seven legislative recommendations and five executive branch policies intended to help make frivolous patent litigation more difficult to bring.
For example, one of the seven legislative changes would make complainants in patent cases disclose who else has an interest in the case so defendants can more easily discern if they are involved in one of these lawsuits.
One of the five administrative changes, meanwhile, would protect end users, such as credit unions, from alleged violations of patents just because their ATMs are performing as designed and manufactured.
“Patent trolls are increasingly targeting Main Street retailers, consumers and other end users of products containing patented technology — for instance, for using point-of-sale software or a particular business method,” the White House said in its announcement.
“End users should not be subject to lawsuits for simply using a product as intended, and need an easier way to know their rights before entering into costly litigation or settlement.”