This week, the Application Developers Alliance joined large and small businesses to urge Congress to swiftly pass comprehensive patent reform legislation as part of the United for Patent Reform Coalition’s Fly-In.
Coalition members from diverse industries, including JCPenney, Overstock.com, Cisco, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, called for legislative action to rid our economy of predatory patent trolls that stifle innovation and job growth. Patent trolls use vague, overly broad, and never-should-have-been-issued patents to extort royalties and costly settlements from legitimate businesses.
Peter Cahill, Founder of LifeLine Response and an Alliance member, traveled to Washington from Arlington Heights, Illinois to share his story with Members of Congress. After a family member was raped and his niece was nearly abducted, Peter developed LifeLine Response: a life-saving technology to help prevent such tragedies. This technology “is the missing tier in the 911 infrastructure, providing an innovative solution to a problem that every carrier in the U.S. could not solve,” said Peter. In fact, since its debut this past February, LifeLine Response has already saved 23 lives, addressed 7 medical emergencies, and was featured on the Today Show.
LifeLine Response is just one of over 40 public safety companies sued by 911 Notify, a notorious patent troll. Fortunately, the Alliance’s Patent Troll Defense Network connected Peter with a pro bono attorney who is fighting his case.
Chris Zenthoefer, 911 Notify victim and small business owner from Tulsa, Oklahoma, also traveled to Washington to meet with lawmakers. Chris created ICEdot, a notification system that connects athletes and adventurers to emergency services and their loved ones when an accident occurs. After realizing that he could not afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight 911 Notify, Chris had little choice but to settle.
During their meetings, Chris and Peter urged U.S. Senate offices to support passage of the PATENT Act, which would rebalance the asymmetries in litigation and restore a strong and fair patent system. As a patent holder himself, Chris told lawmakers that this legislation would solve the troll problem while preserving his right to enforce his patent.
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.
Click here to read Chris and Peter’s letter to Congress urging passage of patent reform legislation.