And in Vermont, state Attorney General Bill Sorrell filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against a patent troll last year. The troll had allegedly been sending threat letters to small businesses in Vermont, which contained deceptive statements and a demand for $1,000 per employee in return for a license to its patents.
These are but a few examples of the way that patent trolls use low-quality patents to pursue nuisance-value settlements from legitimate businesses of all sizes. Patent trolls know they can exploit imbalances in the current patent litigation system to ratchet up litigation costs while facing no responsibility or risk for doing so.
The time to act is now. We are encouraged by President Obama’s actions and hope the Senate will soon take advantage of the strong bipartisan support to address meaningful patent reform this year.
Michael Beckerman is the president and CEO of The Internet Association, a Washington D.C.-based trade association representing the leading global Internet companies.