April 07, 2014

Hunt urges fix to end abusive patent letters

April 8, 2014 - NAFCU's Carrie Hunt, in a letter sent ahead of a hearing today on abusive patent demand letters, urged a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the need for a legislative solution to put a stop to "patent troll" demand letter threats that lead to frivolous and expensive litigation.

"A growing number of credit unions are reporting receipt of demand letters from law firms representing patent assertion entities, claiming patent infringement, with the option to settle or face litigation," said Hunt, NAFCU's senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel in a letter sent to House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Chairman Lee Terry, R-Neb., and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

"NAFCU believes a legislative solution is necessary to alter the intimidating business model used by these patent assertion entities and will continue to be supportive of any Congressional efforts to curb these practices," Hunt said.

NAFCU has already announced its support of patent reform legislation, including House-passed H.R. 3309, the "Innovation Act," introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and two separate bills from Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would help discourage patent trolls from filing frivolous lawsuits.

Today's committee hearing, "Trolling for a Solution: Ending Abusive Patent Demand Letters," will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. Also today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue consideration of S. 1720, the "Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013."