Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Small employers are doing everything they can to grow their businesses in our slowly recovering economy. In communities across the U.S., it’s the jobs small businesses provide and the consumers they serve that keep our recovery moving. However, small employers are facing a growing threat that many know little about until it’s too late: patent trolls.
Patent trolls are companies that don’t make or sell anything; they just own patents, often general ones covering commonly used technology like Wi-Fi. They target businesses, demanding annual fees for use of that technology, or immediately file lawsuits claiming the business has infringed on their intellectual property.
Small Business Majority’s recent opinion poll found small employers agree our nation’s patent system needs to be reformed. They support legislation to strengthen it while protecting small business interests.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate recently shelved legislation that would have reformed the system. It’s crucial our patent system promote innovation and entrepreneurism while protecting small employers from frivolous litigation.
Lawmakers need to come together and find a solution to this problem before it gets out of hand.
The writer is Western Outreach Manager of Small Business Majority.