Patent Trolls

Main Street Patent Coalition Talks Patent Reform at White House

More than a dozen members of the Main Street Patent Coalition (MSPC) participated in a patent reform discussion at the White House Friday – including representatives from the restaurant, retail, credit union, and realtor industries across the country.

AHLA The MSPC represents hundreds of thousands of small businesses united against a common enemy and in support of a common cause. Today's event was a valuable opportunity for these main street businesses to discuss the damage patent trolls are doing and the tools they need to fight back.

“The Main Street Patent Coalition appreciates the Administration’s continued leadership and outspoken support of comprehensive reforms. Main street businesses have a significant stake in this debate and are committed to the fight against patent trolls,” said coalition spokesperson Michael Meehan.

The White House event focused on the Administration’s commitment to strengthening the patent system to ensure it encourages innovation, drives investment, and spurs job creation. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; Todd Park, Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Michelle Lee, Deputy Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office were all on hand for the discussion.

The Main Street Patent Coalition is calling on Congress to pass common sense patent reform including:

1. Eliminate trolls’ ability to hide behind multiple shell corporations:  Require patent owners that threaten and sue to disclose who is really lurking in the shadows and will financially benefit from the scheme.

2. Disarm trolls by improving patent quality and providing a way to fight bad patents:  Fully fund the Patent Office so there is more scrutiny of patent applications.  Expand inexpensive post-grant review opportunities so trolls think carefully before threatening Main Street with patents that never should have been approved. Trigger automatic post-grant reviews of patents abusively exploited by trolls.

3. Make it easier to punish trolls that send fraudulent and abusive shakedown demand letters:  Sharpen FTC authority to stop fraudulent and deceptive demand letters.  

4. Protect end users from troll lawsuits based on infringements by intermediary manufacturers and producers:  Require trolls to sue the party that is actually responsible for infringement, not the end users who had no input into the product. 

5. Make trolls pay when they sue companies frivolously and stop runaway litigation costs:  Require courts to assess sanctions against trolls that file baseless lawsuits. 

The Main Street Patent Coalition members include: American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Bankers Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, American Gaming Association, Application Developers Alliance, Credit Union National Association, Direct Marketing Association, The Emob, Food Marketing Institute, Independent Community Bankers of America, International Franchise Association, National Association of Realtors, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Grocers Association, National Retail Federation, National Restaurant Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, TicketNetwork and the U.S. Travel Association.

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