WASHINGTON (5/1/14)--"Patents are bedrock to the American innovation economy, but when they are used by patent trolls to extort American businesses, congressional action is unquestionably necessary," the Credit Union National Association, with about 400 co-signers, said in a Wednesday letter to the U.S. Congress.
The letter comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares for a vote on its Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S. 1720). The committee had scheduled a markup on the bill for today, starting around 10 a.m. (ET), but that session has been delayed.
That bill would aid credit unions and other businesses that have been targeted by patent "trolls" who manipulate the patent system for their own gain.
The coalition letter notes that senators are working on additional legislative language that would:
- Require patent demand letters to include basic information about the alleged infringement and the method by which a demand was calculated;
- Require patent owners to reveal their ownership when demanding licenses and attempting to enforce a patent; and
- Protect customers and end-users from lawsuits based on alleged infringements by manufacturers and service providers, and make it easier for courts to get rid of frivolous claims of willful infringement.
"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 must fight frivolous claims and overly broad lawsuits made by patent trolls against a range of technologies and commonplace ideas," the letter added.
The letter was signed by CUNA and a large group of diverse firms, including Apple Inc., Facebook, Ford Motor Co., Google, Hasbro, Hilton Worldwide, J.C. Penney Co., Kickstarter Inc., Newspaper Association of America, Polaroid, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and White Castle.
"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," the coalition wrote.
The bill, the co-signers said, "would help restore balance to the system in a manner that will help to bolster innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit."
The letter is expected to be posted on the CUNA site this morning. Use the resource link.