Firefighter Training, Legal, Tech Zone

Industry Council Issues Position Statement on Exploitative Patent Litigation in Emergency Communications

In response to the many Congressional proposals in this arena, the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) today announced the association’s recently developed policy position on exploitative patent litigation in the field of emergency communications.
911 and NextGen911 products and services supplied by iCERT members to commercial wireline and wireless carriers, and government are fundamental to their missions of public safety, law enforcement, and homeland security.  In fact, some iCERT members are required by law to provide these critical products and services.  The providers of these life-saving tools are under increasing attack via patent litigation brought by patent assertion and non-practicing entities.  These exploitative lawsuits are often frivolous – seeking a quick settlement – and in all instances they significantly endanger the public’s safety and security.
“Our nation’s citizens, residents, and visitors place over 300 million calls to 911 each year, and through the innovative efforts of iCERT’s members will soon be able to send real-time text, video, and data to public safety as well,” said iCERT Executive Director George Rice.  “These advanced life-saving and homeland security services should not be held hostage by organizations seeking merely to leverage questionable patents for the sake of settlement proceeds from a lawsuit.”  
Patent litigation is a uniquely protracted and expensive process.  For an extended period of time, the process diverts the resources of public safety industry experts toward numerous unproductive activities such as voluminous discovery requests, and preparing for and attending multiple depositions.  Such litigation causes precious economic resources to be diverted away from, and risks delaying, the introduction of cutting edge and badly needed NextGen911 technologies.  Since 911 is paid for out of public funds, litigation works to the detriment of taxpayers as well.  Thus, it not only burdens efforts to bring new technologies to market, it can also foster legal ambiguity that leaves the emergency response system in an unclear state regarding patent liability and obligations.
While iCERT strongly defends the rights of its members to monetize and, if necessary, exercise their patent rights through vendor-to-vendor litigation, iCERT supports federal agency and legislative efforts to reform the patent litigation environment by:
1)    reducing or eliminating litigation brought by non-practicing entities in the public safety arena;
2)    preventing patent assertion entities from using undue leverage to force technology users into business-disruptive and resource intensive-litigation, and;
3)    increasing innovation and employment opportunities through the production and promotion of high quality patents.

iCERT’s policy position statements on this and other matters  can be found at: