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Obama slams patent trolls and admits AIA needs improvement

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US President Obama has admitted that patent trolls are a problem and said the AIA only goes “halfway” towards fixing issues in the patent system

President Obama

Obama made the comments in an online broadcast on Google on Thursday, in which he answered questions submitted in advance by members of the general public.

The President accused patent trolls of “trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else's idea and see if they can extort some money out of them”.

But he added: “We also want to make sure that patents are long enough, and that people's intellectual property is protected. We've got to balance that with making sure that they're not so long that innovation is reduced.”

Obama also stressed the importance of protecting privacy and civil liberties and ensuring that the internet “stays open”.

“But I do think that our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go,” he said. “What we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.”

Obama did not answer a question about copyright law, submitted by non-profit organisation Public Knowledge, which was the eighth most popular question by public vote. The organisation asked Obama if he would support a fix to the DMCA which would allow people to use copyrighted products they had paid for however they prefer, for their own personal use.

Other IP-related questions submitted by users concerned the SOPA and CISPA bills and the “revolving door between lobbyist and legislators” for organisations such as the MPAA, the RIAA and the US Copyright Office.

Patent reform and the AIA will be discussed at next month’s US Patent Forum in Washington DC.

Speakers at the Forum include Judge Paul Michel, Teresa Stanek Rea - USPTO, James Pooley – WIPO, Ray Niro and Richard Rainey – GE and many more. The Forum is free for in-house patent counsel: information and registration.

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