AH&LA asks members to help fight patent trolls and the risk of frivolous lawsuits.
(July 7, 2015) In the next few weeks, the United States House of Representatives is expected to vote on The Innovation Act of 2015 which will help protect the hospitality industry from frivolous lawsuits brought by patent trolls. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is urging members to ask their congressional representatives to support this critical legislation.
“Patent trolls” purchases old patents with the sole purpose of using these patents to threaten expensive lawsuits in order to extort money from legitimate businesses. They are hurting the hotel industry by using the threat of litigation to force hotels to settle dubious claims or pay licensing fees.
The Innovation Act of 2015 will help close the loopholes in our legal system that allow trolls to thrive. Of particular importance for our industry, the legislation will:
· Protect end users of products like hotels that offer Wi-Fi service by ensuring claims between a patent owner and the product manufacturer go through the legal system first;
· Crack down on abusive demand letters sent by trolls to extract money from innocent business; and
· Deter trolls by giving judges the power to force those who bring frivolous lawsuits to pay all legal fees.
AH&LA has been involved in addressing the problem of patent trolls since 2011 when a company armed with recently purchased patents sent thousands of demand letters targeting hotels and cafes that provided Wi-Fi for customers. The troll demanded as much as $2,500 per location. Wi-Fi router manufacturer Cisco stepped in to defend its customers and reached a settlement in 2014.
The Innovation Act is designed to prevent this kind of trolling. It has strong momentum in Congress, but there are opponents looking to stop the bill in the House. Help ensure its passage by contacting your representatives. Click here to find your representative in Congress.
Subject: Support H.R. 9 – The Innovation Act of 2015
I urge you to support the H.R. 9, the Innovation Act of 2015, when it comes to the House floor. This legislation will take important steps to stop patent trolls from gaming the legal system to extort legitimate businesses like mine.
Patent trolls do not produce goods or services. They contribute literally nothing to the economy. They simply abuse the litigation system and make vague threats to extract money from productive companies.
Patent trolls are hurting the hotel industry. They use the threat of expensive lawsuits to force hotels to settle dubious claims or pay licensing fees. Money paid to trolls for licensing or settlements is money that is not invested in businesses or used to create jobs.
The Innovation Act will close many of the loopholes that allow trolls to thrive. Every reform in the legislation is critical. Only Congress can solve the problem of patent trolls, and I urge to move one step closer by supporting the Innovation Act when it comes to the House floor.
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