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Sen. Hatch Meets with Utah Businesses to Solve Patent Troll Issues

A who’s who of Utah business and technology leaders gathered recently at IM Flash to meet with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to discuss the serious issues patent trolls pose to companies and to discuss common sense patent reform. The roundtable, hosted by Utah Technology Council and the Main Street Patent Coalition, discussed the benefits and issues associated with the Innovation Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and presented to the U.S. Senate.

House bill H.R.3309, or the Innovation Act, focuses on fee shifting, which is a major step in the right direction and will cause fear among the patent trolls, but won’t be enough. For fee shifting to work, there will also need to be an emphasis on bonding, reasonable rules on discovery and heightened changes for pleading. “The bill is a great start,” said Hatch. “It has really drawn attention to the issue and has been passed to the Senate for consideration."

So-called patent trolls, according to the Main Street Patent Coalition, rely on extortion and intimidation to wring licensing fees and settlements out of main street businesses that don’t have patent expertise and cannot afford to fight back where the average infringement litigation can cost more than $2 million. Patent troll litigation costs the U.S. economy about $80 billion per year. In 2013, patent trolls filed 18 percent more lawsuits than in 2012.

“It’s a difficult and growing problem,” said Richard Nelson, president of the Utah Technology Council. “It is not only a U.S. issue, it’s a growing issue right here in Utah. Because of this, we passed H.B. 117 Patent Infringement Amendments in the 2014 legislative session. This roundtable brought together some of the most influential businesses in Utah who are committed to finding solutions that can become the foundation to common sense patent reform in the United States."

The roundtable consisted of CEOs and executives from Intel, Micron, IM Flash, Adobe, Overstock, Oracle, DigiCert, Instructure, FatPipe, VPI Engineering, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, the Utah Restaurant Association, Utah Credit Unions, UtahRealEstate.com, UTC, Workman Nydegger and others.

Hatch believes the Senate will come up with the best possible language to make the bill stronger and believes it will be a bipartisan effort. CALL TO ACTION: If your company has been impacted by patent trolls, reach out to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/ and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid http://www.reid.senate.gov/contact before July 1 to thank them for their leadership in getting this legislation right and to stress the importance of passage of a substantial bill to protect America’s economy and our leadership in innovation.

About the Utah Technology Council

The UTAH TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL is the state’s premier professional association for over 4,700 high tech, clean tech and life science companies. At its core, UTC exists to help Utah technology businesses become more relevant and competitive by creating VALUABLE CONNECTIONS with members and others who offer peer experience and advice, by addressing the serious TALENT SHORTAGE faced by member companies and by assisting members to gain ACCESS TO FUNDING. Members join UTC to share insights with industry peers, counsel with government and academic leaders, and receive help from professional service providers and funding resources. www.utahtech.org

About The Main Street Patent Coalition

Main Street Patent Coalition is a national, non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to stopping patent abuse from trolls by encouraging Congress to pass comprehensive, common sense patent reform legislation to: Eliminate trolls’ ability to hide behind shell corporations, Disarm trolls by improving patent quality and providing a way to fight bad patents, Make it easier to punish trolls that send fraudulent and abusive shake down demand letters, Protect end users by providing a consistent application of the customer stay when the manufacturer is best positioned to fight the troll, and ensure that the stay provision applies the proper width of coverage to adequately shield main street businesses, and Make trolls pay when they sue companies frivolously and stop runaway litigation costs.

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