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Sarah R. Bratko, Esq.
Vice President of Advocacy and General Counsel
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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, announced the formation of a coalition, United for Patent Reform. The broad-based coalition is designed to battle "patent trolls," entities that use predatory legal tactics to sue for patent infringement. AH&LA is joined by a number of groups from the hospitality, retail, technology and construction-based industries, among others.
The new coalition sent a letter to Leaders in Congress and Members of the Judiciary Committees in the U.S. House and Senate outlining the principles strong patent reform legislation should include. A copy of that letter is attached to this release.
"Many consumers and businesses across the country, especially in the lodging industry, have been unfairly subjected to infringement suits by so-called 'patent trolls' that hold patents simply for purposes of extorting money from companies, often on equipment and devices used in their day-to-day operations," said Craig Kalkut, vice president of government affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association. "Each year, the predatory behavior of patent troll lawsuits cost the U.S. economy $80 billion in lost revenues and productivity, when instead those dollars could be directed towards creating jobs and investment in communities. This coalition is a powerful group of allies who seek to take back the patent system, which is so important in fostering American creativity and innovation. Congress should move quickly on legislation that incorporates the principles we have outlined today."
The American Hotel & Lodging Association is taking a lead role in the coalition, with a seat on the executive committee of United for Patent Reform. In addition, AH&LA Members, Frits van Paasschen and Trudy Rautio the chief executives of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group penned op-eds on behalf of the coalition to announce its formation and lay out the need for reform.
AH&LA is a leading member of the coalition, which includes the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Realtors®, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Home Builders, Google, Oracle, Cisco, Verizon, JCPenney, Macy's, Facebook, Amazon, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and many others.