Apps Alliance Welcomes TROL Act Hearing, but Urges Stronger Protections Against Patent Trolls’ Abusive Demand Letters

Washington, D.C. – The Application Developers Alliance praised the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade for holding today’s hearing about legislation to inhibit patent trolls’ abusive demand letters, but urged the Committee to strengthen the bill. 

Statement from Jon Potter, President, Application Developers Alliance:

“Because patent trolls have made a business of sending meritless demand letters to extort unjustified payments, we support the Subcommittee’s legislative path. But circumstances have changed since last year when the Alliance supported this bill, and it is important that this bill changes also.

“First, many states now have strong laws against abusive demand letters, so it is important that Congress model federal law on the strongest and most successful state laws. Certainly Congress should not preempt stronger state laws.

“Second, the Federal Trade Commission’s weak slap-on-the-wrist settlement with notorious patent troll MPHJ demonstrates the need for Congress to clarify that the FTC has  -- and should use – its substantial authority to punish senders of deceptive patent assertions that are intended to extort unjustified royalty payments. Instead, by requiring the FTC to prove a troll’s bad faith, the bill is likely to make enforcement against trolls harder.  We urge the Subcommittee to continue its important work and to improve this bill before enactment.”

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.

More information is available at TrollFighter.com.

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The Apps Alliance is a non-profit global membership organization that supports developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. We promote app industry growth and advocate on behalf of our members on public policy and industry issues. The Apps Alliance serves more than 36,000 individual members and more than 200 companies, including app publishers, platforms, wireless carriers, hardware manufacturers, ad networks, enterprise tools and service providers.