WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: Stakeholders Voice Support for TROL Act Ahead of Subcommittee Vote

July 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will vote later today on a draft of the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, legislation to stop abusive patent demand practices and offer businesses relief from harmful patent trolls. Ahead of the vote, a wide range of stakeholders voiced support for the bill and praised the subcommittee for its work in developing a balanced solution that punishes bad actors while preserving the ability of legitimate patent holders to protect their property rights.

In his opening statement, Terry said, “We want to continue to work to get more support, but have been pleased with the support shown from such diverse groups as the Innovation Alliance, the App Developers Alliance, the DMA, the 4As, the AAJ, the ACU, 21C and many others.”  

Below is a sampling of the support for the draft legislation:

The American Conservative Union

“ACU has always been strongly committed to protecting intellectual property rights. This legislation in its present form does that while taking needed action against abusive practices that are harmful to small business. We urge members of the Subcommittee to support this bill.”

American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)

“AIPLA has emphasized that any action in this area needs to strike a balance between addressing the fraudulent activity while not inhibiting free speech or legitimate patent licensing and enforcement. AIPLA believes the approach of this draft bill moves significantly towards such a balance; it appears in the main crafted to give the FTC appropriate guidance for enforcing the

FTC Act in this area while preserving the traditional rights of patent owners.”

Application Developers Alliance

“Although comprehensive patent reform legislation is still urgently needed, and developers nationwide were disappointed when the Senate postponed consideration of Chairman Leahy’s patent reform legislation, demand letter legislation will give innovators some critical relief.”

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)

“Improving our patent system can help America retain its global competitive advantage in biotechnology and other innovative industries, and will spur more investment and job creation at a time when both are sorely needed. We commend Chairman Terry and Members of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade for creating a balanced approach that will address the issue of false or deceptive patent demand letters without impeding the ability of legitimate patent owners to enforce their patents by sending patent-related communications made in good faith.”

The Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform (“21C”)

“Legislation targeting abusive demand letters is urgently needed and will address one of the most pressing problems that currently exists in connection with patent enforcement practices. The 21C strongly supports finding a fair and effective solution to put a stop to such bad faith demand letters. The Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act of 2014 (TROL Act) is a welcome step in that direction, and the 21C urges that it be favorably reported by the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee.”

 

Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's)

“We commend the Subcommittee's attempt to provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with additional tools to protect victims from unfair and deceptive patent troll demand letters, including by enabling the FTC and state attorneys general to bring enforcement actions seeking civil penalties from such patent trolls.”

 

Eagle Forum

“The TROL Act appears to strike a reasonable balance between curbing abusive practices involving demand letters and preserving the ability to defend patents through written communications with suspected patent infringers. … This legislation seems not to devalue patents or deprive patent owners of the ability to take action against infringers. This is critically important if American innovation is to thrive.”

 

Innovation Alliance

“Patents are essential to incentivizing invention, investment, research and development, and job growth. As such, any patent legislation should enhance those economic functions. The TROL Act targets a real problem while avoiding an overly broad approach that would impair the necessary and beneficial economic functions of the patent system.”

 

Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO)

“In March of this year, the IPO Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting legislation that would make the high volume sending of bad faith demand letters, to end users who are not resellers, a deceptive act or practice within the meaning of section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, provided that such legislation is carefully tailored to differentiate between abusive activity and legitimate, lawful activity. Such legislation should include a clear identification of objective acts or practices that would deceive recipients, such as false statements of patent ownership or the right to enforce or license patents. … The draft bill published earlier this week seems to meet all of our criteria. We appreciate the efforts of the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee to address increasingly widespread, abusive behavior.”

 

American Bankers Association (ABA)

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA)

Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)

The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)

“In our industry alone, there are hundreds of examples of a patent troll attempting to sell a product—the patent license—to a bank or credit union using tactics resembling fraud or extortion. Your bill would clarify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s authority to fight against deceptive practices, while not affecting legitimate patent holders’ rights to send demand letters or otherwise assert their patent rights. … Your bill is a positive step towards addressing the problem demand letters pose to small businesses.”

 

To view a full list of supporters, click HERE.

 

 

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