I found out some more details about the patent demand survey that
Professor Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University is asking folks to
fill out. First, the link didn't resolve properly in the previous
article that mentioned it, so I've corrected it now, but I wanted to
highlight it here also, in case you gave up earlier. If you go here, you can fill it out. [The survey is on that page. Scroll down and it begins with the word "Background".]
Second, what's a patent demand? It could be a
letter demanding you license a patent or a threat of a lawsuit, that
sort of thing.
Also, you don't have to be a CEO or head
of a startup or a lawyer to provide useful information. If the company
you work for has received a demand letter, or been sued by a
non-practicing entity or anybody with a patent, you can fill out the
form. If you are an app developer, you qualify. If you are a software
developer, you qualify, even if your company isn't a tech company.
Even if you've never had a demand made on you or your company, you can
still fill out the form. The idea is to figure out what's going on in
the patent world, particularly with small companies and entrepreneurs
and startups. Are threats of patent litigation chilling innovation? If
there is a problem, and it's widespread, they'd like to get more
precise about it. So, it's inclusive.
If you can talk your boss into filling it out instead, that's fine,
but make sure you don't both fill it out,
to make certain the results are as accurate as possible. Only one
person per company. I know there are probably victims of certain trolls out
there, but don't list any such names of who made a demand on you or
your company, just what happened, what the demand was, and all the
other details the survey asks about.
It's anonymous, so don't give your name either, and nothing you say will be quoted unless you give permission, and if you have any questions, you can contact Professor Chien [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Congress, I've just learned, is having hearings on patents this week,
and as it happens Professor Chien is going to testify, so if you have
information you'd like her to take with her, so to speak, this is your
moment. The purpose of the survey, in other words, is to help frame
policy recommendations, so it's important, if you care about patents,
and I know a lot of you do. Just be sure to be accurate and precise.
Here are her exact instructions:
I'm a law professor conducting a survey of the impacts of patent
demands, particularly on small companies and entrepreneurs. If you
handle legal disputes (for example as a solo app developer or person
who is familiar with the legal issues your company experiences),
please complete this anonymous survey (one per company). If you fill
out the form, I will provide the results to the source providing the
survey to you. The results will be aggregated and used for academic
purposes only, including to form the basis of policy recommendations
I'll disseminate to the public, including via twitter: @colleen_chien.
Congress would like to know if this is as big a problem as they're
hearing, so a well-done survey collecting real-world experiences would
be helpful. Please do spread the word in all the ways you know about,
including ones that the Internet makes possible, if you don't
personally have an experience to share.
The survey solicits your input on patent demands - e.g. demand
letters, requests to license, and lawsuits. However, you should take
the survey even if you've never received a demand. Please do not
include your name or the name of any specific "demander"; if you do,
your response may be discarded. The entire survey should take 2-15
minutes. The answers will be kept strictly confidential. More
Your feedback on this issue is really important! Thank you so much
for taking the time and please contact me with any questions or
Santa Clara University School of Law
This is an opportunity to be heard (no, I can't guarantee results, but
at least it's an opportunity to help, if anyone chooses to act), so if you've ever complained that
no one is listening to developers, this is a good time to speak and
tell what you know.