Monthly Archives: October 2013

October 31, 2013 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Internet Association Helps Businesses, Startups Fight Patent Trolls

Silicon Prairie
Internet Association helps businesses, startups fight patent trolls
Posted: OCTOBER 31, 2013

Along with the challenges that come with starting any business, tech startups now have a whole new array of issues to worry about. The Internet Association, a Washington, D.C.-based political lobbying organization focused on protecting Internet freedom, is out to help.

Earlier this month Michael Beckerman, the organization’s president and CEO, visited Council Bluffs, Iowa, for a roundtable to discuss patent trolling with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and a number of Iowa businesses. According to the Internet Association, in the last year alone, patent trolls have threatened more than 100,000 companies with patent infringement lawsuits.

Beckerman says the process is simple and fairly low-risk for patent trolls. The group files an overly general patent—Beckerman says a patent on an online shopping cart or on sending links in emails are fairly common examples—and then serve a wide array of companies with patent infringement suits. In most cases, fighting the suits in court would be costly so businesses are forced to pay infringement fees.

But protecting companies from patent trolls is just one of the Internet Association’s goals. The organization was formed in 2012 after a number of large Internet-based corporations saw the need for further Internet protection. “The Internet companies came together and decided they wanted to have a unified voice together in Washington for policy issues,” Beckerman said.

The larger organizations behind the Association—tech giants like Amazon, eBay and AOL, to name a few—asked Beckerman if he would be willing to leave his place as a top congressional staff member and head up the new group. Beckerman agreed and has since been named “Tech Titan” by The Washingtonian.

“What we’ve been saying in Iowa, and in every other state too, is that any business can find ways to use the Internet to reach their customers in a new and more effective way,” Beckerman told Silicon Prairie News.

Since its creation the Association also has placed a focus on the importance of Internet companies, recently releasing findings of a study that claim nearly $141 billion is generated annually by part-time Internet businesses.

“You could be the smallest farmer in Iowa, but because of the Internet you can reach markets and customers around the world in a cost-effective and efficient way that would have never been possible a handful of years ago,” he said.

Beckerman says he views the presence of Internet heavyweights like Facebook and Google in Iowa as assets to the state and its entrepreneurial community. The jobs data centers create and the visibility they bring to the region can only do more to serve the community, he said.

“The reason that’s able to happen is because that platform is a democratic force for the economy and for businesses,” Beckerman said of the Internet.

A number of bills regarding patent trolling have been introduced in the House and Senate, though Beckerman says it’s unlikely any form of legislation will be passed until next year at the earliest.

“The momentum is certainly on our side,” he said. “Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agree this is a problem that needs solving.”

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To read the original article, click here.

October 30, 2013 | News, Statements

Statement: The Internet Association Applauds Senator Hatch’s Legislation to Combat Patent Trolls

 

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association, the D.C. based trade organization representing the interests of leading Internet companies, issued the following statement from its President and CEO Michael Beckerman on the introduction of The Patent Litigation Integrity Act:

“The Internet Association applauds Senator Hatch’s introduction of The Patent Litigation Integrity Act, which will reduce the asymmetrical risks in patent litigation that patent trolls exploit to extract settlements from large and small businesses and legitimate innovators.

“By requiring certain plaintiffs to post a bond for attorneys fees upon motion by the defendant, the bill will level the playing field in litigation against trolls that shield themselves from risk or responsibility by operating through shell companies that hold little or no assets.  At the same time, the bill gives judges the discretion to ensure that the bonding requirement does not pose a barrier to justice for individual inventors, educational institutions, and legitimate small businesses.

“We look forward to working with Senator Hatch and Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass strong legislation that not only decreases patent litigation abuse, but also strengthens the patent system.”

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October 28, 2013 | Letters, News

LETTER FROM ORGANIZATIONS TO JUDICIARY SUPPORTING CBM

 

Today, The Internet Association signed on to a letter with 23 other organizations that represent tens of thousands of businesses employing tens of millions of Americans, as well as public utilities and public interest groups. The letter, sent to Judiciary Committee leaders and members, calls on Congress to provide relief from patent abuse by creating an efficient, inexpensive alternative to litigation for fighting the invalid business method patents commonly asserted by PAEs.

EXCERPT: The patent system plays an important role in promoting innovation in the United States. Increasingly, however,  patent assertion entities (PAEs), commonly called patent trolls, are exploiting the patent system for financial gain to the detriment of innovation. PAEs do not make or sell products, nor do they develop new technologies—their business model is based purely on patent litigation and patent licensing. They impose huge costs on American businesses (at least $29 billion in 2011 alone) that drain funds from job creation. …We strongly urge you to support a package of reforms that would expand CBM review in order to address the low-quality patents that are fueling the PAE litigation explosion and harming American companies.

To view the letter, click here.

October 28, 2013 | Op-Eds

Michael Beckerman and Paul DeRoche: Congress should act now to stop patent trolls

Providence Journal
Michael Beckerman and Paul DeRoche: Congress should act now to stop patent trolls
Posted: 10/28/2013 01:00 AM

If you’ve heard about patent trolls, you already know that they hurt businesses, drive up prices for consumers and are a drain on our economy to the tune of $80 billion annually. What you may not know is that they are no longer limiting their targets to software developers and high-tech companies. Now the trolls are shaking down every type of business, from retailers and restaurants to major corporations and even charities. But by broadening their targets, they’ve sparked momentum for reform to put a stop to their abusive practices.

They’ve even taken aim at local banks, grocers and retailers. These companies, which employ thousands of Rhode Islanders, were sued for the use of common e-commerce tools and customer loyalty programs. The money that these businesses have to spend to defend themselves in court is money they can’t spend hiring more workers and funding innovation. But that’s just a glimpse of how large the troll problem has become.

Businesses targeted by patent trolls are left with two very expensive choices. For small and medium-sized businesses, the average cost of paying the troll a licensing fee is about $1.3 million dollars. For those same small and medium-sized businesses, the average cost of going to court is $1.75 million. So it’s no wonder that many choose to pay the trolls rather than fighting them in court.

Trolls make their living by taking advantage of overly-broad, low-quality patents. These often cover everyday business practices like having an online store locator on a website or providing wifi to customers in coffee shops, and many should be invalid. The proof is that when cases based on alleged infringement of these business-method patents are tried in court, the trolls lose 85 percent of the time.

According to the White House, trolls sent out more than 100,000 demand letters last year. And it’s adding up to real money for them, and a significant drain on our economy.

As the extent of this problem has become clear, policymakers are taking notice. Some states have taken action to stop the trolls, but because our patent system is under federal jurisdiction, an effective, comprehensive solution must come from Congress.

Already, a number of bills have been introduced to address this issue in both the House and Senate, and from Democrats and Republicans alike. Additionally, President Obama has urged Congress to make a number of changes to our patent system to stop the trolls.

To be effective, reform must accomplish two goals. First, it must make sure that both parties have something at stake, which will change the trolls’ calculus and reduce the number of suits that ultimately go to court. Second, reform must make it easier to invalidate low-quality patents that enable abuse. Allowing targets of business-method patents to challenge the validity of the patents at the Patent and Trademark Office instead of in court would give victims of patent abuse a less costly and more efficient way to fight back.

Rhode Island businesses can’t afford to wait any longer for reform to stop these patent trolls. We urge members of Congress, and particularly those on the relevant committees of jurisdiction such as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), to act with all deliberate speed to pass reforms that stops patent abuse once and for all.

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October 23, 2013 | News, Statements

We Applaud the House Judiciary Introduction of Bipartisan Patent Reform Legislation

Chairman Goodlatte’s Innovation Act will reduce abusive patent litigation

 

The Internet Association applauds Chairman Goodlatte’s bipartisan introduction of The Innovation Act. This bill will reduce the unfair advantages and incentives that patent trolls rely on to target businesses of all sizes and sectors, costing our economy $80 billion per year. With minor but necessary improvements, this bill will help all hard-working American businesses and improve our patent system.

By making patent litigation more efficient, transparent, and balanced, this legislation will discourage many patent trolls from exploiting low quality patents to sue innocent startups, retailers, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, charities, municipalities, and both large and small businesses.

We also welcome the focus on addressing low quality patents by amending the PTO’s Covered Business Method program so that companies have an effective and less expensive alternative to litigation. The Internet Association and its member companies appreciate the work of the Chairman and his staff that led to the introduction of this bipartisan legislation and will continue working with the Chairman, members of the House Judiciary Committee, and their counterparts in the Senate on passage of legislation that reduces abusive patent litigation and improves patent quality.

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October 17, 2013 | News, Press Releases, Videos

Internet: Supercharger of Today’s Economy

 

THE INTERNET ASSOCIATION RELEASES NEW VIDEO: “FOSTERING INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH”

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internet Association, the unified voice of the Internet economy, released a video today that showcases the powerful economic benefits of the Internet.

“The Internet is our economic supercharger,” said Michael Beckerman, The Internet Association President and CEO . “The Internet is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy–creating jobs, enriching lives and increasing competitiveness and access every day.  This video is a visual reminder of the way that the Internet is empowering not just the American economy, but our global economy.  No matter how big or small, via the Internet, anyone and everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the economy in a major way.”

“The Internet economy is powerful, impacting every economic sector across the globe, and empowering users of all walks of life,” said Beckerman. “Albeit individuals or families, small businesses or big businesses, buyers or sellers, students or teachers, the Internet bolsters business, connections, and collaboration, and empowers users in new and unexpected ways. The Internet Association will continue our work to protect the interests of this vital and vibrant economic sector.”

This video comes on the heels of The Internet Association’s recent study that illustrates the positive U.S. economic impact of Internet-enabled, part-time businesses. The study found that Internet enabled part-time businesses employ roughly 6.6 million workers, pay 800 million in wages and generate about $141 billion in annual revenue to the overall GDP. The study was commissioned by The Internet Association and conducted by market research firm, Harris Interactive. The full report can be viewed here.

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October 9, 2013 | News, Press Releases, Videos

The Internet Association Releases Part-Time Business Economic Report: Internet Fuels Part-Time Businesses; Adds $141 Billion to U.S. Economy

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, The Internet Association President & CEO Michael Beckerman hosted and moderated a live webcast discussing the results of a report on U.S. Internet-enabled, part-time businesses. The research, commissioned by The Internet Association  and conducted by market research firm, Harris Interactive sought to determine the U.S. economic impact of Internet-enabled, part-time businesses. Today’s presentation highlighted the study’s findings.

Previous studies such as the McKinsey Internet Matters report and OECD’s Internet Economy Outlook have documented the impact of the Internet on the U.S. economy. However, the Internet’s ability to empower individuals to create part-time businesses had not yet been investigated until now. This study hypothesized that part-time businesses are substantial contributors to the overall U.S. economy. This study was conducted in June, 2013 among over 10,000 U.S. adults who are the primary owner of a part-time business that uses the Internet.

The major highlights from this study confirm the Internet’s positive impact on business operations, no matter the size. The report demonstrates how the Internet drives the growth of part-time businesses in the U.S.

Key Findings:

  • Internet enabled part-time businesses employ roughly 6.6 million workers.
  • The Internet fuels part-time businesses: 9 out of 10 part-time business owners rely on the Internet to conduct their business generating about $141 billion in annual revenue to the overall GDP.
  • The Internet accelerates the capacity of part-time businesses by increasing efficiency for 86%, expanding productivity for 82%, and saving money for 78%.
  • Up to 80% of part-time business owners describe their businesses as providing freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment.
  • A diverse array of part-time small businesses utilize the Internet (i.e., collectors, artisans, technical consultants, musicians, bakers/chefs, web designers, educators, carpenters).

The Internet Association President & CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement in response to the study:

“Businesses in every economic sector are benefitting from the Internet. By providing a level playing field for individuals to compete in the global economy, the Internet empowers part-time entrepreneurs to have the freedom and flexibility to do what they love and contribute to the economy in a major way. We will continue to push for policies that foster the Internet’s growth as an important platform for trade, commerce, and innovation.”

Methodology:
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive within the United States from June 10-28, 2013 among 10,031 adults (aged 18 and over) who are the primary owners of a part-time business that uses the Internet in one of the following ways to run their business: has a dedicated website, sells or buys goods and services, monetizes user generate content, advertises or markets business, uses search engine optimization, uses online or cloud based services, uses social media, uses software available on the Internet, or uses Internet computing technologies. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the online population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

The economic impact figures – number of employees and total revenue generated – were calculated using government data, the number of households as determined by the 2012 Current Population Survey and 2011 U.S. Gross Domestic Product figures. The revenue data is derived similarly. We estimated the average revenue earned by part-time Internet enabled businesses, based on self-report, to the U.S. 2011 GDP.

For more information regarding the methodology or how the economic impact figures were derived, please click here.

About The Internet Association:
The Internet Association is the unified voice of the Internet economy representing the interests of the leading Internet companies including Airbnb, Amazon.com, AOL, ebay, Expedia, Facebook, Gilt, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Path, Practice Fusion, Rackspace, reddit, Salesforce.com, SurveyMonkey, TripAdvisor, Uber Technologies, Inc., Yahoo!, and Zynga. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic development, and empower users. The Internet Association is headquartered in Washington, D.C. www.InternetAssociation.org.

About Harris Interactive:
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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October 4, 2013 | Letters, News

The Internet Association TIA – NTIA Request for Extension Letter

 

Excerpt: On October 4, 2013, The Internet Association signed on to a letter respectfully urging the United States Patent and Trademark Office to extend its timeline identified in its request for comments and public hearing on the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.

To read the letter The Internet Association signed today, click here.  

 

 

 

 

 

October 4, 2013 | News, Press Releases

MEDIA ADVISORY: The Internet Association to Release Economic Study via Google+ Hangouts Next Wednesday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Internet Association will release the results of a new first-of-its-kind study on how the Internet is powering the growth of part-time businesses, strengthening the economy and increasing families’ income.

The Internet Association will release the study’s findings during an online news conference via Google+ Hangouts at 1:00 p.m. EDT/ 10:00 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, October 9th. The webcast will be broadcast live and can be accessed online. [The live link will be distributed on Wednesday morning].

WHAT: Release of The Internet Association Economic Study of Internet-Enabled Part-Time Small Businesses Bolstering U.S. Economy

WHEN: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
1:00 p.m. EDT – 1:30 p.m. EDT, Online news conference
1:30 p.m. EDT – 1:45 p.m. EDT, Media Availability

WHERE: The panel will be webcast via Google+ Hangouts and can be accessed online. [The live link will be distributed on Wednesday morning]. Participants will be available via phone to answer press questions after the panel. [The post-panel press call-in number will be distributed Wednesday morning].

WHO:
Moderator: Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association
Study Author: Michele Salomon, Vice President – Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive
Part-time business owner: Leora Merrell, Etsy ShutterBuddies founder and Utah mother of four
Part-time business owner: Kathy Terrillebay NYC Fitness Family and Finds seller and New York actress

Media Contact:
Betsy Barrett, Communications Director
The Internet Association
(202) 997-3266
betsy@internetassociation.org

About The Internet Association
The Internet Association is the unified voice of the Internet economy representing the interests of the leading Internet companies including Airbnb, Amazon.com, AOL, ebay, Expedia, Facebook, Gilt, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Path, Practice Fusion, Rackspace, reddit, Salesforce.com, SurveyMonkey, TripAdvisor, Uber Technologies, Inc., Yahoo!, and Zynga. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic development, and empower users. The Internet Association is headquartered in Washington, D.C. www.InternetAssociation.org.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

 

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October 2, 2013 | News, Statements

The Internet Association Applauds House Democrats’ Introduction of Immigration Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association, issued the following statement welcoming the House Democrats’ comprehensive immigration reform legislation:

“The Internet Association applauds the House Democrats’ efforts to address immigration reform. Continued commitment and strong bipartisan efforts is critical in crafting a legislative solution for our broken immigration system.

“Following the Senate Gang of Eight’s legislation, we are one step closer to passing much needed immigration reform, which will positively impact not only the Internet industry but also America’s economy at large.  By implementing a functioning system, we will empower our nation to retain the best and brightest minds that come to the United States and create economic value here at home.

“The Internet Association looks forward to working with Congress to continue strengthening this legislation to achieve effective and sound immigration policies.”

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Latest News

Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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