Monday, November 4, 2013

Patent Trolls and Privacy Notices

While the banking and credit union industries are going to disgree regarding the issues of taxation and expanded business lending authority for credit unions, there are a number of issues that we can come together to work on that benefits both banks and credit unions.

The latest examples are two joint trade association letters that were sent to Congress regarding patent trolls and privacy notices.

The trade groups wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) commending his bipartisan Innovation Act to restrain “patent trolls” -- non-practicing entities that bring abusive patent litigation against banks and other businesses. Goodlatte’s bill would enhance pleading standards to make it harder to bring frivolous patent infringement claims, allow waivers for costly fees to investigate a patent’s validity and limit discovery costs borne by targeted business. The trade groups urged Goodlatte to add provisions that would distribute liability more equally between suppliers and end users. They also recommended that the validity review process be expanded to patents filed since 2011, and they suggested additional changes to address the concerns of targeted businesses. Read the letter.

Additionally, bank and credit union trade groups wrote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.)about bringing up legislation (S. 635) regarding redundant privacy notices. The letter stated: "As you know, Gramm-Leach-Bliley requires all financial institutions to annually provide their customers with annual privacy notices,... even if there has been no change to the policies in the prior 12 months. S. 635 would change this by eliminating the annual notice requirement if the institution has not “changed its policies and practices” in the prior 12 months and shares information with third parties in accordance with specified GLBA requirements. In addition, S.635 also ensures that even if there is no change in the company’s privacy policies, consumers will still have electronic access to the institution’s current policies. In brief, we believe this common sense measure would reduce the significant costs institutions incur providing unnecessary disclosures and more importantly give our customers a break from redundant notices."

Read the letter.

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