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Can You Please Help With a Patent Demand Survey? ~ pj
Tuesday, July 17 2012 @ 10:15 AM EDT

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 [].

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.

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 information:

Your feedback on this issue is really important! Thank you so much for taking the time and please contact me with any questions or concerns:

Colleen Chien
Assistant Professor
Santa Clara University School of Law
Thank you!
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.

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.

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