Letter to Judiciary Committee on patent reform
The Hon. Patrick Leahy
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Hon. Chuck Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:
Patents are a bedrock of the American innovation economy, but when they are used by abusive trolls to extort American businesses, congressional action is unquestionably necessary. Today, abusive patent litigation is killing small companies, chilling employment and growth of all companies and stifling the economies of a wide range of industries nationwide. Instead of investing in new jobs and services, businesses are having to fight frivolous claims and overly broad lawsuits made by patent trolls over a range of technologies and commonplace ideas.
To stop patent abuse, the undersigned support legislation that makes it easier to:
- Curb abusive demand letters and punish those entities sending them;
- Uncloak trolls that hide behind shell corporations;
- Protect customers from lawsuits based on infringements by manufacturers and service providers;
- Protect against baseless fishing expeditions in the current patent litigation system’s discovery process that drive up legal costs; and
- Make trolls pay when they sue companies frivolously.
We understand that Sens. Schumer and Cornyn are working on a bipartisan compromise package with you and several of your Judiciary Committee colleagues. We expect that the draft on which these senators are working will include several important provisions to reduce patent abuse, including:
- Requiring patent demand letters to include basic information about the alleged infringement and the method by which a royalty demand was calculated;
- Requiring patent owners to reveal their ownership when demanding licenses and royalties;
- Protecting customers and end users from lawsuits based on infringements by manufacturers and service providers;
- Requiring the party bringing suit to disclose the basis and scope of the suit in the initial pleading;
- Injecting greater clarity in the discovery process, including when and what information is discoverable throughout the litigation process; and
- Requiring more patent owners to pay defendants’ legal fees and costs when a lawsuit alleging infringement is objectively baseless and frivolous.
The undersigned strongly support these types of solutions to very real and very costly problems that inhibit innovation and economic growth. To date, we have borne the economic costs and burdens of a patent system increasingly held hostage by trolls that do not seek to build up the American economy, but rather tear it down, one demand letter and exorbitant licensing fee at a time. We have worked earnestly with members, staff and representatives of a diverse cross-section of industries to reach a compromise that, while not our ideal solution, is one that we believe would help restore balance to the system in a manner that will help to bolster innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit we all embody.
Finally, we urge you to reject suggestions that requiring transparency, fairness and good faith dealing in patent assertions and litigation undermines the American patent system in any way. We ask you to call into question the motives of those who, despite years of study and months of discussion, refuse to recognize the gravity of the problem facing our industries. Those who use and benefit from the patent system should support these common sense, urgently-needed solutions to the distortion of that system.
On behalf of millions of small businesses, start-ups, innovators and Main Street America, we urge your strong support for bipartisan legislation that provides urgently needed relief and reform, and encourage your continued efforts until the job is done and the bill becomes law.
Association of Advertising Agencies
AAMP of America
Alabama Association of Realtors
Alabama Bankers Association
Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance
Alain Pinel Realtors
Alaska Hotel & Lodging Association
American Apparel & Footwear Association
American Automation and Communications, Inc.
American Bankers Assocation
American Gaming Association
American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Public Power Association
American Public Transportation Association
American Society of Travel Agents
Amplifier Technologies, Inc.
Application Developers Alliance
Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association
Arkansas Hospitality Association
ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors
Association of Vermont Credit Unions
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida
BlueSalve/RH Associates, LLC
boingo wireless, inc.
BrightPear Designs, LLC
BSA |The Software Alliance
California Hotel & Lodging Association
Card USA, Inc.
Mass Transit District
Charmtech Labs LLC
Coalition for Patent Fairness
Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association
Competitive Carriers Association
Computer & Communications Industry Assocaiton
Connecticut Lodging Association
Consumer Electronics Association
Credit Union Association of New York
Credit Union National Association
Crux Interfacing Solutions
Delaware Association of Realtors
DeskTop Fab, Inc.
Direct Marketing Association
DISH Network Corporation
Dual Electronics Corp.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Entertainment Software Association
Etymotic Research, Inc.
Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (VA)
Find The Best
First Team Real EstateCosta
Florida Association of Realtors
Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
Food Marketing Institute
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)
Freedom Scientific, Inc.
Funai Corporation, Inc.
Georgia Association of Realtors
Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association
Georgia Restaurant Association
Graphic Arts Association
Great Lakes Graphic Association
Greater Capital Association of Realtors ( DC)
Green Edge Technologies, Inc.
Hawai’i Lodging & Tourism Association
HEX Holdings LLC
High Resolution Technologies, LLC
HTC America, Inc.
Hubbard Inn Chicago,
Huppin’s / OneCall
Idaho Association of Realtors
Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS)
Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
Illinois Public Transportation Association (IPTA)
Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA)
Illinois Technology Partnership
Independent Bankers Association of Texas
Independent Community Bankers of America
Indiana Association of Realtors
Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
InterContinental Hotels Group
International Council of Shopping Centers
Iowa Association of Realtors
Iowa Restaurant Association
Kreider Services (IL)
Long & Foster Companies, Inc.
Louisiana Hotel & Lodging Association
Main Street Patent Coalition
Maine Innkeepers Association
Marriott International, Inc.
Maryland Association of Realtors
Massachusetts Lodging Association
Material Service Testing – Elk Grove, IL
Matrix Advisors, LLC
Max Borges Agency
MAXSA Innovations, LLC
McNutt Consulting Services (MCS) Office Technologies – Gibson City, IL
Michigan Association of Realtors
Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association
Mississippi Association of Realtors
Mitek Electronics & Communications Group
Mobile Marketing Association
Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association
MPA – The Association of Magazine Media
National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)
National Association of Federal Credit Unions
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Realtors
National Cable & Telecommunications Association
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Grocers Association
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
Nebraska Hotel & Motel Association
Nevada Hotel & Lodging Association
New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association
New Jersey Association of Realtors
New Mexico Association of Realtors
New York Association of Relators
New York Hospitality & Tourism Association
Newspaper Association of America
NextWorth Solutions, Inc.
NextWorth Solutions. Inc.
North Carolina Association of Realtors
North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
North Dakota Association of Realtors
Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce
“NPES The Association for Suppliers of
Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies”
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
NXE/Grand Destiny Group
Ohio Association of Realtors
Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association
Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association
Oregon Association of Realtors
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc.
Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
PINE (Printing Industries of New England)
Plant tonics, inc.
Potpourri Group, Inc.
Print Media Association
Printing & Graphics Association MidAtlantic
Printing and Imaging Association of Georgia
Printing and Imaging Association of MidAmerica
Printing Association of Florida, Inc.
Printing Industries Alliance
Printing Industries Assn. San Diego, Inc.
Printing Industries Association, Inc. of Southern California
Printing Industries of America
Printing Industries of Michigan Inc.
Printing Industries of Ohio N.
Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast
Printing Industries of Utah
Printing Industry Association of the South, Inc.
Printing Industry Midwest
Quest Mountain Audio/Video LLC
R Street Institute
Red Hat, Inc.
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Return Path Inc.
Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition
Rhode Island Hospitality Association
Ron Conway, SV Angels
Sales Performance Management, LLC
Samsung Electronics America
Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce
Sea Hawk Systems LLC
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Sirius XM Radio Inc.
Small Business Majority
Software & Information Industry Association
Sonic Electronix, Inc.
South Carolina Association of Realtors
South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
Specialty Technologies, LLC
Spectra Merchandising International, Inc.
Stack Exchange Inc.
Superior Communications, Inc.
Table 301 Restaurant Group
TDS Telecommunications Corp
Tennessee Association of Realtors
Tennessee Hospitality Association
Texas Association of Realtors
Texas Hotel & Lodging Association
The Guitammer Company
The Hawai’i Lodging & Tourism Association
The Keyes Companies—Real Estate, Weston, FL
The Latino Coalition
The Printing Industry of the Carolinas, Inc.
The Realty Alliance
The Travel Technology Association
The Whistler Group, Inc.
Thomas Hospitality Group
United States Telecom Association
Utah Credit Union Association
Utah Hotel & Lodging Association
Verizon Communications Inc.
Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
Visual Media Alliance
Washington Lodging Association
West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
Western States Printing Alliance
Wildcard (Coopkanics, Inc.)
Wisconsin Association of Realtors
Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association
Wyoming Association of Realtors
Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association