WASHINGTON – Many of the diverse groups, industries, and companies supporting patent reform over the last decade today announced they have united into a single, large coalition and coalesced around a set of core principles aimed at reining in the abuses patent trolls wreak on businesses, job growth, innovation, and our economy.
“Instead of creating new jobs and investing in new technologies, businesses large and small across many industries—from national realty, construction, and technology businesses to Main Street retail shops, hotels, grocers, convenience stores, and restaurants—continue to be forced to divert scarce resources to fighting frivolous lawsuits and overly broad claims made by Patent Assertion Entities, or ‘patent trolls,’” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “This must change.”
Despite passage of the America Invents Act and several recent positive rulings from the Supreme Court, abuse of our patent system continues unabated. United for Patent Reform does not intend to achieve incremental victories or invalidate specific types of patents, but to take back a patent system increasingly held hostage by patent trolls and return it to its original purpose: fostering innovation and investment that benefits the entire American economy. This morning, the broad new coalition sent a letter to Leaders in Congress and Members of the Judiciary Committees in the US House and Senate outlining the principles strong patent reform legislation should include.
“Patent trolls have turned everyday business practices, like using a scanner-copier, into potential lawsuits,” said Chris Polychron, president of the National Association of Realtors®. “Every industry, including real estate, is currently vulnerable to intimidation by patent trolls who use the threat of costly litigation to extract unwarranted ‘hold up’ settlements from companies that unknowingly use the products that trolls allege might infringe their patents. From large settlements to individual demand letters, patent trolls cause Realtors® to divert resources away from job creation and investment in new technologies that enhance the real estate experience.”
With today’s announcement, United for Patent Reform becomes the preeminent national voice for the strongest possible patent litigation reform legislation. Its members include the National Retail Federation, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Association of Realtors®, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the Coalition for Patent Fairness and many of its member companies Google, Oracle, Cisco, Verizon, Salesforce.com, Adobe, Intuit, and Dell—as well as JCPenney, SAS, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Macy’s, Facebook, the Food Marketing Institute, Amazon, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Chain Restaurants and several others who are still in the process of joining at this date of announcement.
Part of the new coalition’s strength comes from the collective commitment in supporting the following seven legislative measures:
“Parties across the political and economic spectrum agree that the problems caused by patent trolls and abusive patent litigation must be addressed. President Obama has spoken out forcefully against patent trolls,” said NRF’s Matthew Shay. “Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives joined together to pass the Innovation Act by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 325–91. Although the Innovation Act could have done even more to prevent abusive patent litigation, it was an excellent start. The urgent need for comprehensive change has not lessened since the House passed the bill 13 months ago. Although the Supreme Court heard an unprecedented number of patent cases last term—a testament to the fact that our patent system needs reform—those decisions have not deterred the abusive strategies employed by patent trolls who continue to exploit the patent system. Moreover, although the courts can alter their understanding or interpretation of the patent laws, only Congress has the authority to change those laws. Now is the time for them to do so.”