New proposals by White House Task Force on Hi-Tech Patent Issues raise concerns

Today, the White House Task Force on High-Tech Patent Issues issued a paper containing seven legislative recommendations for patent reform designed to curb litigation abuses by patent assertion entities (PAEs).

As a defendant in roughly 70 patent lawsuits, most of which were filed by patent assertion entities, Microsoft supports efforts to curb patent litigation abuses. But we are concerned and surprised that in a critical respect today’s proposal goes beyond patent assertion entities and instead targets software innovations more broadly. The proposal asks Congress to expand rules applicable to challenging business methods and apply them to “a broader category of computer-implemented inventions.” If enacted, this provision would create a discriminatory legal standard for software inventions, putting at risk jobs and innovation in the technology and manufacturing sectors of the economy. 

We stand ready to work to address patent abuse in a constructive fashion with the Administration, Congress and others to ensure the patent system promotes job growth and technology innovation.

About the Author

Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

Horacio Gutiérrez is Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in charge of the Microsoft products and services group (PSG). In this role, he oversees the team that provides front-line legal support to all of Microsoft's engineering and marketing teams, including Devices and Studios, Applications, Services and Dynamics, Operating Systems, Cloud and Enterprise, and Marketing. Previously, Horacio led the worldwide intellectual property group, including the development, maintenance and enforcement of the company’s IP portfolio, inbound and outbound patent licensing, and IP legal and public policy strategy. Prior to his eight years leading the IP group, Mr. Gutiérrez was based in Paris, where he was Microsoft's associate general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Gutiérrez started his career at Microsoft in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the company’s Latin American regional headquarters, where he was responsible for commercial and corporate matters for the region.