VC Fred Wilson explains why the White House is right to support Rep. Robert Goodlatte's patent reform bill--and what else the bill needs to protect start-ups.
Yesterday the White House came out in favor of Rep. Robert Goodlatte's patent bill. This is a good thing.
The Goodlatte bill doesn't have everything in it that we would like to see in a bill aimed at reducing the pain that patent trolls inflict on the innovation economy, but it is a good start and I think it can get improved in conference with the Senate.
One thing that was taken out of the Goodlatte bill that we would like to see put back in is the broadening of the covered business method patent review process to include all business method patents.
In the five plus years that we have been working to educate government officials about the blight that patent trolls have wreaked on the start-up sector, I have seen a huge shift. We have gone from elected officials being ignorant about this issue, to being aware of it, to now being as outraged as we are about the troll issue. That's a good thing and the result, I think, will be better laws and better processes to out bad patents and bad actors in the system. This is long overdue but welcome nonetheless.