Sub Visual

GOV'T AFFAIRS

STAFF CONTACT

Sarah R. Bratko, Esq. 

Vice President of Advocacy and General Counsel

401-223-1120, ext. 115

Sarah@rihospitality.org

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Frivolous claims target small businesses unable to fight expensive lawsuits 

Washington, D.C. – November 6, 2013 – In advance of tomorrow’s hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee at which members will discuss the practices of patent assertion entities (PAEs), the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and 29 of the group’s partner state associations sent a letter to Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), along with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), to demonstrate the significant impacts of “patent troll” lawsuits and reiterate the importance of patent reform to the lodging industry. 

 

This hearing is being held just one week after a similar hearing of the House Judiciary Committee examined the recently-introduced Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), introduced by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

 

In the letter, the lodging industry highlights the fact that PAEs, otherwise known as patent trolls, purchase patents on inventions for products they do not manufacture, and then sue or threaten to sue organizations they claim infringe on the patents.  The filing of these frivolous lawsuits has increased recently, with innocent product purchasers, such as hotels providing wireless Internet access for their guests, being targeted by PAEs seeking to earn a quick settlement.  These frivolous lawsuits, which are an abuse of the patent protection system and difficult to fight, pose a significant financial burden on the lodging industry.   

“Our nation’s small businesses, including many hotels, are facing an ever-increasing number of frivolous patent troll lawsuits that each year cost the U.S. economy $80 billion in lost revenues and productivity,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and CEO. “A majority of the lodging industry is made up of small businesses, with approximately 55% of hotels numbering fewer than 75 rooms, which are ill-equipped to fight these lawsuits.  In many instances, owners and operators do not have the financial resources to fight this aggressive litigation, and often their only recourse is to settle.” 

“We are grateful to Chairman Rockefeller for convening this timely hearing,” Lugar continued, “and look forward to working with the members of the committee to craft a permanent solution to this issue.”

 

Please note: a copy of the letter is attached with this message

Senate Patent reform support letter - November 2013.pdf .

 


List of Articles
No. Subject Author Date
» LODGING INDUSTRY URGES SENATE TO ACT AGAINST PATENT TROLLS file Monika Nov 08, 2013
Frivolous claims target small businesses unable to fight expensive lawsuits  Washington, D.C. – November 6, 2013 – In advance of tomorrow’s hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee at which members will discuss t...  
10 Biweekly Pay Proposed Regulations file Monika Oct 31, 2013
Please review the attached rule making notice. Let us know if you have concerns or comments. Biweekly Pay Regulations Proposed Final.pdf  
9 Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement Update Monika Oct 31, 2013
We have received several calls regarding the  Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement and what the next steps are if you want to file a claim and join this class action lawsuit. At this point nothing has been finalized as the Judge is still...  
8 Legislative Affairs Committee - are you interested in serving? file Monika Oct 16, 2013
Are you interested in serving on our Legislative Affairs Committee?  This group reviews all legislation that is submitted as well as determining what legislation we should sponsor.   Our meetings are held at the Association office in Cranst...  
7 AH&LA Letter to Congress and the President file Monika Oct 16, 2013
The American Hotel & Lodging Association sent Congress and the President the following letter: AHLA Letter.pdf    October 10, 2013 President Barack Obama Members of the United States House of Representatives Members of the United States...  
6 Advocates Gearing Up For Another Try at Plastic Bag Ban Monika Sep 17, 2013
Backers of a plastic bag ban have been busy collecting petition signatures this summer. Environment Rhode Island says it has amassed ten thousand signatures urging the General Assembly to take up the issue once again. Rhode Island would have...  
5 HEALTH CARE LAW AND YOU file Monika Sep 17, 2013
What Employers Need to Do   Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which was approved by Congress and signed into law March 23, 2010, employers, including restaurants, are required to keep records proving they notifie...  
4 Hiring Teens (under 18 years of age) - what you need to know file Monika Jun 21, 2013
    Connecting Youth and Business: A Toolkit for Employers<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> http://www.dol.gov/summerjobs/pdf/Toolkit.pdf   READ THIS If You're Hiring Minors This Summer! http://www...  
3 Did You Know? Monika Jun 21, 2013
The Rhode Island Hospitality Association is working for you. Our Lobbyists and staff have spent over 500 hours on key legislation in an effort to promote your interest, as a member of the local hospitality industry, and to safeguard your bu...  
2 Report on Sales and Taxation of Alcoholic Beverages in Rhode Islan file Monika Jun 21, 2013
  A state law enacted in June 2012 requires the Tax Administrator to provide such a report on or before May 1 of each year to the chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees. The inaugural report was posted today. Please download atta...  
1 Health Care: FLSA Exchange Notice Temporary Guidance Released file Monika Jun 21, 2013
  The Department of Labor (DOL) released temporary guidance regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) notice required by the health care law that employers subject to the FLSA provide notice of the exchanges to their employees. DOL has ...