The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, issued the following statement regarding the Senate Judiciary Committee's failure to vote on the Patent Transparency and Improvement Act:
“The hotel industry is very disappointed that the Senate Judiciary Committee was unable to move forward on legislation to curb the extortive actions of patent trolls," said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president/CEO. "It shouldn’t be this hard. The House of Representatives has already overwhelmingly passed a broad, bipartisan bill, and President Obama has made his strong support very clear. Almost every industry, including the hotel industry and Main Street businesses of all kinds, agree that something must be done, and support in the Senate spans the entire political spectrum. The Senate Judiciary Committee must not lose sight of the big picture and let this legislation die. Only when the Senate does its part and reform becomes a reality, will hotel owners, operators and investors be able to stop wasting time and resources defending their business from patent trolls, and turn their full focus toward enhancing the guest experience, building new hotels and welcoming travelers from around the globe.”
Senator Leahy's bill was aimed at patent trolls that profit by bringing and threatening to bring frivolous patent infringement lawsuits against end users, including hotels. The House passed its own patent reform bill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) Innovation Act, at the end of 2013. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is meeting Thursday to discuss a new bill that focuses on the demand letter aspects of patent reform. AH&LA, a member of the Main Street Coalition, will continue its push to modernize the patent system so hoteliers can continue to grow their businesses and create jobs.
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