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National Associations Launch Anti-Patent Troll Campaign

Aug 29, 2013 11:02 AM   By Sandra Mardenfeld
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RAPAPORT... In an attempt to recover from  $80 billion bilked yearly by patent trolls, four associations joined forces today to launch a print and radio campaign asking Congress to stop this unethical business practice that effects many companies in retail, technology, charities and even those on Main Street. 

“Patent trolls use bad patents to bully companies of all sizes, in every economic sector, from coast-to-coast,” said Michael Beckerman, the president and CEO of The Internet Association. “This is essentially legalized extortion, forcing hard-working businesses to go to court or write a check — money they can't spend on hiring and growth.”

The effort, spearheaded by The Internet Association, National Restaurant Association (NRA), National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), seeks to educate voters about the problem and get them to involve their Congressional representatives.

“It is critical that we increase transparency and disclosure around who these companies are in order to change the market dynamics behind these frivolous and litigious claims...,” said Scott DeFife, the executive vice president of policy and government affairs at the NRA.  "We are hopeful that Congress will examine the patent troll industry this fall and push for a common-sense solution that protects Main Street businesses.”

The issue has already claimed some Congressional attention, and currently the Honorable Bob Goodlatte and Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, chairmen of the Committee on the Judiciary, are trying to create a patent system that deters such abuse. The White House also issued a set of legislative proposals and Executive Actions this spring. Various organizations have pointed out the problem of patent trolls.

In July, 50 groups signed a letter to Congress urging them to stop the abuse followed by another letter that same month signed by 40 companies (http://internetassociation.org/wp-content.) Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report  confirming that U.S. businesses and the nation's economy suffered because of patent troll abuse.

“The intentional misuse of the patent system by patent trolls not only crowds our courts with unnecessary lawsuits but also hampers retailers’ adoption of technology aimed at improving the customer experience,” said Matthew Shay, the president of the NRF.  “Retailers are among the most frequent targets of patent trolls due to the industry’s use of cutting-edge innovations. NRF’s strong position on patent trolls and support for this association-led campaign demonstrates our industry’s commitment to addressing this issue.”

To learn more and view/hear the ads, go to http://www.stopbadpatents.com/.
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Tags: congress, Goodlatte, Leahy, National Retail Federation, patent trolls, Sandra Mardenfeld, The Internet Association
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Aug 30, 2013 8:00AM    By Randy Pearson
This is an interesting article, but extremely one sided. I have personal experience with patent infringement and the sword cuts both ways. Good, honest, hard working creative Americans invest their heart and soul and fortune into development of ideas that eventually become registered patents. From there large companies steal these ideas and incorporate them into their product lines without compensation to the owener and the little guy has no ability to recover royalties. The term "patent troll" is probably accurate for some circumstances, but for some entreprenuers it is the only resource they have to partner with to be compensated from those who steal their patented ideas and incorporate them into products. Our country has a long standing history of encouraging people to think beyond the status quo. Those who own legitimate patents should be protected under the law and those who steal these ideas should face a financial penalty. What suggestion would those pushing this agenda offer for these risk takers?
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