BECKERMAN: “It’s hard to fully appreciate the damage patent trolls inflict on businesses of all sizes. It is time for Congress to solve this problem by passing patent reform legislation this year.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association released a video featuring Van Lindberg, Rackspace Vice President of Intellectual Property, explaining the company’s decision to aggressively fight patent trolls.
“We made the business decision to fight – every time, every troll, every patent,” says Lindberg in the video. “And since then, we’ve been fighting, and we’ve been winning, but it’s expensive, and it’s hard.”
Lindberg’s comments come as Congress is set to return from recess, with patent reform legislation still present on its to-do list. For years, companies from Main Street to Silicon Valley have been forced to expend precious resources to fight back against patent trolls – shell companies that use vague and overly broad patents to threaten expensive lawsuits and extract cash settlements from victims. These patent trolls have cost businesses billions of dollars in the past decade, and estimates show that the cost for most businesses to defend themselves in court against a patent troll can range between $2 and $9 million per suit.
“It’s hard to fully appreciate the damage patent trolls inflict on businesses of all sizes,” said Internet Association President & CEO Michael Beckerman. “It is time for Congress to solve this problem by passing patent reform legislation this year. People should not live in fear that defending yourself against a frivolous lawsuit could lead to bankruptcy.”
Unfortunately, trends in patent troll lawsuits are only getting worse. A recent report released by Unified Patents shows that 2015 is on pace to have the most patent infringement lawsuits of all time, with patent trolls responsible for 68 percent of these lawsuits. If these litigation rates hold for the rest of the year, then there would be a record 6,100 patent lawsuit filings in 2015.
“People are starting to use the legal system as a cudgel to beat other people with, exploiting this inefficiency in the legal system to extort settlements,” says Lindberg.
Ultimately, what’s at stake is the ability for small businesses and individuals to innovate. Lawsuits from patent trolls are stifling innovation and making consumers worse off because companies are having to waste valuable resources on hiring lawyers, instead of creating better and more efficient products and services.
“This was such a threat to innovation, and innovation was so important to us that we had to fight,” says Lindberg.
It’s time for Congress to stand up for the innovators of America and pass legislation that prevents patent trolls from using the legal system as a weapon.
To watch the video online, click here.