Letter to Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley on Patent Reform Legislation
May 14, 2014
|The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
|The Honorable Charles Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:
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. 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.
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 and end users from lawsuits based on their use of another company’s products and services;
- Understand the basis of a claim of infringement through reasonable pleading and transparency requirements;
- 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 file frivolous cases.
We understand that Senators 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 demand was calculated;
- Requiring patent owners to reveal their ownership when demanding licenses and attempting to enforce a patent;
- Protecting customers and end users from lawsuits based on alleged 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 and balance into the discovery process, including rules that ensure a timely resolution of claim construction and limit discoverable content to that information directly relevant to the case; and
- Requiring more litigants to the prevailing party’s legal fees and costs when a lawsuit alleging infringement is not objectively reasonable in law and fact; and
- Making it easier for courts to get rid of frivolous claims of willful infringement.
The undersigned strongly support these 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 urge you to dismiss the complaints and assertions of those who, despite years of study and months of discussion and negotiation, still downplay the gravity of the problem facing our industries. Those who use and benefit from the patent system should support these common sense, urgentlyneeded solutions to the distortion of that system.
On behalf of millions of small businesses, startups, 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.
4A's - American Association of Advertising Agencies
A Insurance Agency, Inc (UT)
AAMP of America
Alabama Association of Realtors
Alabama Bankers Association
Alabama Grocers Association
Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance
Alain Pinel Realtors
Alaska Hotel & Lodging Association
Alert Solutions (RI)
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
American Apparel & Footwear Association
American Automation and Communications, Inc.
American Bankers Association
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
Auntie Pasto’s (HI)
Bank of Hawaii
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida
BlueSalve/RH Associates, LLC
boingo wireless, inc.
BrightPear Designs, LLC
BSA |The Software Alliance
Building Industry Association of Hawaii
Bump Networks (HI)
Cache Chamber of Commerce (UT)
California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns
California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)
California Hotel & Lodging Association
California Retailers Association
Callware Technologies (UT)
Card USA, Inc.
Carolinas Food Industry Council
Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
Chancellor Hotel on Union Square, San Francisco
Charmtech Labs LLC
Coalition for Patent Fairness
Code Rebel (HI)
Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association
Competitive Carriers Association
Computer & Communications Industry Association
Concept Hotels, Inc.
Connecticut Food Association
Connecticut Lodging Association
Consumer Electronics Association
CR England (UT)
Credit Union Association of New York
Credit Union Association of Rhode Island
Credit Union National Association
Crux Interfacing Solutions
Daniel Mark Dobkin, Ph.D.
Data Transformation Services
Delaware Association of Realtors
DeskTop Fab, Inc.
Direct Marketing Association
DISH Network Corporation
Dixie Grill (HI)
Dual Electronics Corp.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Entertainment Software Association
ESTECH SYSTEMS, INC. (TX)
Etymotic Research, Inc.
Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (VA)
Find The Best
First Team Real Estate--Costa Mesa, CA
Florida Association of Realtors
Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
Food Industry Alliance of New York State
Food Marketing Institute
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)
Freedom Scientific, Inc.
Fulcrum Biometrics, LLC. (TX)
Funai Corporation, Inc.
Georgia Association of Realtors
Georgia Food Industry Association
Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association
Georgia Restaurant Association
Graphic Arts Association
Great Lakes Graphic Association
Greater Capital Association of Realtors ( DC)
Greater Louisville Inc.
Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
Green Edge Technologies, Inc.
Handlery Hotels, San Francisco & San Diego
Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association
Hawaii Association of Realtors
Hawaii Bankers Association
Hawaii Food Industry Association
Hawaii Restaurant Association
Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham-Oakland/Alameda
HEX Holdings LLC
High Resolution Technologies, LLC
HTC America, Inc.
Hubbard Inn -- Chicago, IL
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 Retail Merchants Association
Illinois Technology Partnership
Independent Bankers Association of Texas
Independent Community Bankers of America
Indiana Association of Realtors
Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association
Indiana Retail Council
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
Insight Inspection, LLC
InterContinental Hotels Group
International Council of Shopping Centers
Iowa Association of Realtors
Iowa Restaurant Association
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
Kreider Services (IL)
Lehi Chamber of Commerce (UT)
Long & Foster Companies, Inc.
Louisiana Hotel & Lodging Association
Main Street Patent Coalition
Maine Innkeepers Association
Marriott International, Inc.
Maryland Association of Realtors
Maryland Retailers Association
Massachusetts Credit Union League, Inc.
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
Minnesota Retailers Association
Mississippi Association of Realtors
Mitek Electronics & Communications Group
Miyako Hybrid Hotel, Kintetsu Enterprises Company of America
Mobile Marketing Association
Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association
MPA – The Association of Magazine Media
Mr. Jim’s Pizza (TX)
National Association of Broadcasters
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
Nebraska Retail Federation
Nevada Hotel & Lodging Association
New Hampshire Credit Union League
New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association
New Hampshire Retailers Association
New Jersey Association of Realtors
New Jersey Food Council
New Mexico Association of Realtors
New York Association of Realtors
New York Hospitality & Tourism Association
Newport County Chamber of Commerce (RI)
Newspaper Association of America
NextWorth Solutions, Inc.
Nintendo of America Inc.
North Carolina Association of Realtors
North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
North Dakota Association of Realtors
Northern Chapter of the Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents
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
Ocean Park Inn, San Diego
Ohio Association of Realtors
Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Ohio Grocers Association
Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association
Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association
Oregon Association of Realtors
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Pacific Palms Resort, City of Industry
Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc.
Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
Pennsylvania Retailers' Association
PINE (Printing Industries of New England)
Pizza Inn (TX)
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. Kentucky
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 Association of Maine
Retail Association of Nevada
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Retail Merchants of Hawaii
Retailers Association of Massachusetts
Return Path Inc.
Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition
Rhode Island Food Dealers
Rhode Island Hospitality Association
Rhode Island Retail Federation
Rocky Mountain Radar (TX)
Ron Conway, SV Angels
Sales Performance Management, LLC
Samata Management, Inc.
Samsung Electronics America
Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce
Sea Hawk Systems LLC
Sevier County Economic Development (UT)
Shorewest Realtors--Brookfield, WI
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Sirius XM Radio Inc.
Small Business Majority
Smashtoast, Inc. (IL)
Society for Savings (CT)
Software & Information Industry Association
Sonic Electronix, Inc.
South Carolina Association of Realtors
South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
South Carolina Retail Association
South Dakota Retailers Association
Southeastern Employment Services (CT)
Specialty Technologies, LLC
Spectra Merchandising International, Inc.
Stack Exchange Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
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
Texas Restaurant Association
Texas Retailers Association
The Guitammer Company
The Internet 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 Fenner Woods Insurance Agency
Thomas Hospitality Group
Ticket Biscuit, LLC
UB Alert (HI)
Union Square Ventures
United States Telecom Association
Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents
Utah Credit Union Association
Utah Food Industry Association
Utah Hotel & Lodging Association
Utah Restaurant Association
Utah Retail Merchants Association
Utah Tourism Industry Coalition
Utah Transit Authority
Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce
Verizon Communications Inc.
Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Vermont Retail & Grocers Association
Vertex Incorporated (CT)
Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
Virginia Retail Federation
Virginia Retail Merchants Association
Visual Media Alliance
Washington Lodging Association
West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
Western States Printing Alliance
Whiskey Dix Saloon (HI)
Wildcard (Coopkanics, Inc.)
Wisconsin Association of Realtors
Wisconsin Grocers Association
Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association
Wyoming Association of Realtors
Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association