App Developers Alliance Brings Start-ups and Innovators to Capitol Hill to Speak with Lawmakers about the Urgent Need for Strong Patent Reform

Washington, D.C. – Start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs from across the country took to the Hill today with the Application Developers Alliance to tell Congress the many ways in which patent trolls have hurt their ability to grow and create jobs. The group cited the uncertainty that frivolous lawsuits create for them as business owners and called on Members of Congress to pass patent reform laws to promote economic growth and job creation. Representatives of a dozen companies participated in meetings in the Senate and the House of Representatives.  

“Entrepreneurs across the country are telling Congress that it is time for reform,” said Jon Potter, President of the App Developers Alliance. “By creating strict rules for patent demand letters, reducing litigation costs and creating a less expensive way to invalidate vague and overly broad patents, entrepreneurs targeted by trolls will be able to fight back.”

Michael Skelps, Founder & Owner of Capstone Photography from Middlefield, CT said, “A patent infringement suit almost closed the doors to my business. I fought back and won but it cost my company productivity and jobs. I’m here today to tell Congress that small businesses like mine can’t afford this extortion anymore.” Capstone Photography was sued by a patent troll for allegedly infringing on three patents.  After about ten months and about $100,000 in legal expenses, a Federal Judge ruled in their favor.

Peter Braxton, CEO and Founder, Jump Rope, Inc. based in Chicago, IL spent hundreds of thousands in unrecoverable economics, millions in potential investment capital and most importantly 3 years of lost operational time, due to a frivolous and meritless lawsuit brought by a patent troll. “I fought back and won,” said Braxton. “ Not everyone has the means to do that. If you’re a start-up or a small business, you have no chance against this kind of unfair litigation.”

Kendrick Nguyen, General Counsel, AngelList based in California has been defending against a patent troll lawsuit.  “Even at the outset of the proceeding, it's obvious that the disruption to our operation and costs would quickly become unmanageable,” said Nguyen. Unless and until patent trolls and plaintiff attorneys are discouraged by patent reforms, they will continue to thwart business, innovations, job growth and overall productivity of the entire ecosystem, but particularly that of smaller, cash-lean companies.”

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Other participants today included: Cara Edwards, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Answers Corporation, Ann Arbor, MI; Kevin and Diane Hamilton, Founders, Binary Formations, Mechanicsville, VA; Todd Moore, Founder, TMSOFT, Arlington, VA; Alex Haro, President, Life360, California; Jonathan Pasky, CEO, Pasky Gruber Scatchell, Chicago, IL; Daniel Zadoff, Managing Partner, Nutritionix, Washington, DC; and Austin Meyer, Creator and Founder, X-Plane, Columbia, SC.

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.