Trolling for a Solution: Ending Abusive Patent Demand Letters

April 1, 2014

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled “Trolling for a Solution: Ending Abusive Patent Demand Letters.” Witnesses to be announced.

The subcommittee will hear from stakeholders regarding the growing abuse of patent demand letters. In recent years, small businesses have increasingly been targeted with financial threats through demand letters. Businesses are often told to either pay for a license within a short period of time, or face going to court for infringing the sender's vaguely defined and often specious intellectual property rights.

While these bad actors dominate the headlines, patent demand letters are not always abusive. Many entities with significant patent holdings use demand letters to engage other companies in lawful and productive discussions around their businesses. The hearing will explore ways to prevent the bad actors from abusing the process, often at the expense of small businesses, while preserving the legitimate business purposes of patent demand letters.

The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.