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Venture capitalists weigh in on patent trolls

Reformists urge Congress to get tough with patent legislation

Patent reform has been a hot topic in Congress recently, as several bills, including one from House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), have been introduced to address the issue of patent trolls. This type of reform has found support from a wide variety of businesses, from tech companies to firms in the retail and hospitality space. And now, prominent venture capitalists are weighing in on the topic.

Some of the most prominent venture capitalists in the country recently threw their support behind patent reform legislation aimed at troll-like behavior. This group includes Mark Cuban, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.

In an open letter to Congress, the above group, along with dozens of other venture capitalists, expressed their strong opinion. “We write to urge comprehensive legislation to address the troubling growth and success of the patent troll business model,” the letter states. “Young, innovative companies are increasingly threatened and targeted by patent troll lawsuits. While big companies paid the lion’s share of the $29 billion of direct costs resulting from patent troll activities in 2011, the costs borne by small companies are a proportionately larger share of their revenues. In fact, the majority of companies targeted by patent trolls have less than $10 million in revenue.”

The group goes on to give suggestions as to what successful anti-troll legislation should do. They recommend easier reviews at the patent office, increased transparency for patent owners, limiting the scope of discovery, fee-shifting and more.


For more information on patent trolls, check out the following:

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning to talk patent trolls at upcoming roundtable

Vermont attorney general brings aggressive stance to patent trolls

IP: Cheaper and faster, Key elements of post-grant review under the AIA

IP: Mr. (Patent Attorney) Smith Goes to Washington - Successful patent examiner interviews

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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