MN Leaders and Startups Call on Congress to Pass Patent Reform
St. Paul, MN – The Application Developers Alliance hosted an in-depth discussion in St. Paul today about the urgent need for Congress to pass comprehensive patent reform to protect Minnesota's entrepreneurs and small businesses. The event was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, Minnesota Credit Union Network and Minnesota Bankers Association.
Tom Kramer, a Minnesota inventor and developer with expertise in medical production innovation emphasized how small businesses and startups face increasing challenges of harassment and fraud from patent trolls. “Patent trolls will continue to put jobs and innovation at risk until we pass comprehensive patent reform legislation,” said Tom Kramer, President and CEO, Kablooe Design.
Patent trolls are shell companies that don't make goods or provide services, but instead make money by threatening and suing businesses. They intimidate businesses into paying licensing fees by promising a long and costly legal battle should they refuse.
Casey Kniser, Partner at Patterson Thuente IP, participated on the panel and explained current patent laws and how reforms could contribute to more pathways for legal redress and protection to mitigate risks to business owners. Casey added, “Patent cases are so expensive and can last years. Many smaller businesses and innovators just can’t afford to fight a patent troll.”
There are thousands of companies targeted by patent trolls each year and 55% of these companies have annual revenues of $10 million or less. Frivolous, abusive patent litigation distracts innovators, chills investment, and wastes extraordinary amounts of capital that could be better spent on building products and growing companies.
The Application Developers Alliance supports legislative reforms that undermine the patent troll business model without harming legitimate patent enforcement. The Alliance supports policies that short-circuit frivolous litigation, address the imbalance in litigation burdens, and ensure transparency and specificity in demand letters and complaints.
The Application Developers Alliance is a non-profit global membership organization that supports developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. We promote industry growth and advocate on public policy and industry issues. The Apps Alliance, which now includes more than 200 corporate members and a 50,000-strong developer network, launched in January of 2012 and initiated European services in early 2014. Membership includes app publishers, developer agencies, platforms, wireless carriers, hardware manufacturers, ad networks, enterprise tools and service providers.