What You Need to Know about Patent Trolls, from CEA

March 18, 2014

10:30 am

This is an advertorial sponsored by CEA, a title sponsor of Tech Cocktail’s Startup Celebration at SXSW. We thank them for their support!

On December 5, the House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act, HR 3309, to reform patent litigation.

Right now, patent law is plagued by “patent trolls,” organizations that gobble up patents without using them and then sue other companies, hoping for a settlement. The Innovation Act’s goal is to protect innovators and reduce frivolous lawsuits.

Among other things, the act requires patent holders who are suing infringers to provide more information on the alleged infringement rather than filing abstract infringement claims, and to pay the defendant’s cost for (most) lawsuits if the defendant wins. It also requires the USPTO to provide education to small businesses on patent infringement.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is a supporter of this bill, and is currently urging the Senate to push the legislation forward and vote on patent reform. CEA’s mission is to grow the consumer electronics industry, and one way it does that is through the Innovation Movement, which mobilizes Americans on pro-business issues like international trade, Internet freedom, and skilled immigration.

According to Michael Petricone, CEA’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, patent reform is the issue he gets the most calls about. CEA cites one Boston University study, which found that patent troll lawsuits cost over $29 billion per year to American companies.

Below, Petricone explains why patent trolls are so harmful to startups and what you can do to help pass patent troll legislation. Here’s the video.

For a reduced-rate startup membership to CEA, sign up here.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to .CO and CEA, sponsors of Tech Cocktail’s 2014 SXSW Startup Celebration!

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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