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Support the Apps Alliance's efforts to fight patent trolls. 

Share your experience with patent trolls and how it affected your business. 

Find an event near you.


App Developers and Startups Need Patent Reform Now

Patent trolls are shell companies that don't make goods or provide services, but instead make money by threaten and suing businesses alleging infringement of vague or overbroad patents. Trolls use junk patents  to intimidate and extort innocent businesses into paying licensing fees by promising a long and costly legal battle should the business refuse. Abusive patent enforcement threats and litigation distract innovators, chill investment, and waste extraordinary amounts of capital that could be used to build products and grow companies. For tech startups and app developers, responding to abusive patent trolls significantly harms growth and can bankrupt a business. 

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.    

Pre-Litigation:  Mandate Transparency & Specificity in Demand Letters & Complaints

  • Require that demand letters and Complaints – regardless of how many are sent by a single entity or with regard to a single patent – identify the relevant patent and claim, the alleged infringing functionality, and the real parties in interest. This minimum information will allow recipients to thoughtfully review whether infringement allegations merit an agreement to license.  
  • Require all demand letters to be posted on a publicly accessible website, so similarly situated defendants can work collectively to avoid “nuisance settlements” that are often necessary when fighting trolls alone.

Pre-Litigation: Empower Regulators to Punish Unfair and Deceptive Demand Letters

  • Clarify existing Federal Trade Commission authority to empower enforcement actions against those who send intentionally misleading, frivolous or abusive demand letters.

Litigation Alternative:  Address Junk Patents 

  • The explosion in abusive junk patent litigation justifies creating an easy-to-use and quick process for reexamining and invalidating poor quality, vague or overbroad patents. This program would enable start-ups to fight back against trolls at less cost, with fewer lawyers, and would also strengthen our patent system by making meritorious patents relatively more valuable.

Reduce Litigation Costs and Risks

  • Modify Discovery Rules:  Courts should require each party to pay discovery it requests following exchange of core technology documents.  Reducing the crushing costs of one-sided discovery while still providing all materials necessary to prove if a patent is valid and infringement occurred, will rob trolls of a key weapon they use to extort unjust nuisance settlements.
  • Loser Pays in Patent Cases:  Shifting litigation costs incentivizes trolls to think much more carefully before they sue – an important factor for judicial efficiency and fairness. 

Protect End Users of Software

  • Just as consumers and small businesses use off-the-shelf products provided by manufacturers, developers frequently use 3rd party software.  Neither should be liable for infringement just for using a product that infringes a patent.  Thus, any “customer-suit exception” should apply to customers of software products.

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Patent troll suits have risen substantially since 2010 with more than 6,000 lawsuits in 2013, a more than 12-percent increase over the year before.  They are racking up bills on the backs of inventors, entrepreneurs, developers, main street businesses and companies large and small, costing our economy billions every year. 

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Millions of job creators, entrepreneurs and inventors are counting on desperately needed protections to stop patent trolls and their abusive tactics and we refuse to give up the fight. We are calling on Congress to pass comprehensive patent reform – now and protect our economy and jobs.

The Apps Alliance supports strong, comprehensive patent reform legislation that provides real alternatives to litigation, address the imbalance in litigation burdens, and ensure transparency and specificity in demand letters and complaints. 


+ St. Paul, Minnesota

Join us for a discussion about the urgent need for Congress to pass comprehensive patent reform now and protect Minnesota’s entrepreneurs and our economy.

Participants:

  • Tom Kramer, President, Kablooe
  • Casey Kniser, Partner, Patterson Thuente IP
  • Minnesota Telecom Alliance
  • Minnesota Credit Union Network
  • Minnesota Bankers Association

Time:

9:30 AM, Wednesday, January 28th

Location:

317 on Rice Park Event Center

317 North Washington Street

St. Paul, MN 55102

For more information or to RSVP please contact Jess Myers, jessm@ewald.com or Sarah Elliott at 650-477-6585, sarah@appdevelopersalliance.org

+ Des Moines, Iowa

Join us for a discussion with Senator Grassley about the urgent need for Congress to pass comprehensive patent reform now to protect Iowa's entrepreneurs and our economy.

Participants:

  • Senator Charles Grassley
  • Jon Potter, Application Developers Alliance
  • Michael Sadler, Century Link
  • Bob Skow, Independent Insurance Agents of IA
  • Sharon Presnal & John Sorenson, Iowa Bankers Association
  • Ben McDougal, JetSet Studio, LLC
  • Brad Powers, Kinze Manufacturing
  • Jamie Krist & AJ Krist, Krist Insurance
  • Ethan Davidson, Ruster Sports/ DiMond Bikes

Time: 4:30pm, Friday, February, 13th

Location: Gravitate 206 6th Ave Third Floor Des Moines, IA 50309

For more information or to RSVP please contact Matthew McKinney, mckinney@brownwinick.com or Sarah Elliott at 650-477-6585, sarah@appdevelopersalliance.org

+ Las Vegas, Nevada

Date TBD

For more information contact, sarah@appdevelopersalliance.org

+ Salt Lake City, Utah

Date TBD

For more information contact, sarah@appdevelopersalliance.org

+ Providence, Rhode Island

Date TBD

For more information contact, sarah@appdevelopersalliance.org

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Featured Testimony and Patent Reform News 

In this video, a startup founder discusses how patent litigation is disrupting his business, forcing him to hire more lawyers than employees. 

Frankly it seems these days that it’s more about having enough money to defend yourself than having defensible patent claims.

In the News

Apps Alliance Urges Legislative Action on Demand Letters to Protect Startups and App Developers from Patent Trolls - 2/26/2015

Patent Trolls May Have Key To Unite Obama, Congress - Investor’s Business Daily 2/20/2015

Apps Alliance Hosted Sen. Grassley for Patent Reform Discussion in Des Moines - 2/13/2015

Apps Alliance Supports Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative - Calls for Comprehensive Patent Reform Laws Now - 2/4/2015

Apps Alliance Joins United for Patent Reform Coalition Says Collaboration is Needed to Move Patent Reform Forward - 2/4/2015

Application Developers Alliance Hosts Patent Reform Discussion in Minnesota - 1/28/2015

Apps Alliance Energizes Patent Reform Focus With Events in Several States - 1/26/2015

Apps Alliance Supports USPTO's Increased Focus on Patent Quality - Calls for Comprehensive Patent Reform Laws Now - 1/22/2015

Patent Reform Advocates are Launching a ‘Super-Coalition’ to Whack Patent Trolls - The Washington Post 1/15/2015

Apps Alliance Supports PTO Crowdsourcing to Improve Patent Quality - 1/13/2015

The Application Developers Alliance Calls Out FTC Ruling As Falling Short – App Developer Magazine 12/11/2014

Application Developers Alliance Supports Michelle K. Lee Nomination as Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – 12/10/2014

Apps Alliance: FTC Ruling Falls Short - Congressional Action Needed to Stop Patent Trolls - 12/8/2014 (Comments

Apps Alliance Calls on Congress to Move Comprehensive Patent Reform – One Year Since The Innovation Act Passed the House – 12/4/2014

Congress: In 2015 Finish the Job on Patent Trolls | CommentaryRoll Call 11/21/2014