Patent trolls and bad demand letters have become an increasing problem for businesses in the United States. In order to combat this problem, Conversant Intellectual Property Management, a patent licensing company, launched is new campaign Stand Up to the Demand.
Bad demand letters have been aimed at small- to medium- sized businesses, hurting them through settlement fees and legal costs. The patent trolls send demand letters, often hundreds at a time, with little or no evidence that the companies are “infringing” their patents. Then the patent troll demands a “licensing fee” anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 U.S. dollars or more claiming a patent infringement lawsuit could be more fiscally damaging.
President and CEO of Conversant John Lindgren, says, “Sending ill-founded patent demand letters may be legal, but it’s just plain wrong. This practice is hurting small business owners financially. It’s giving legitimate patent licensing a bad name. And it’s seriously undermining the public’s belief in the U.S. patent system and the value of patents as stimulants to innovation and economic growth.”
In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that patent litigation cost companies almost $13 billion USD worldwide in defense expenses and settlements last year compared to $5 billion in 2008. And the sheer volume of patent suits has increased by nearly 600 percent over the past five years. Consequently, the effects of patent trolls and bad demand letters have caused negative impacts on the U.S. economy.
With the new campaign, Conversant can now offer help to businesses being targeted by patent trolls. The online campaign leads to a video and quiz to “learn to take a stand against bogus patent claims.” The quiz gives information indicating whether a letter about a patent infringement is a legitimate “notice letter” or a bogus “demand letter.” The campaign also offers other resources and invites others to share their stories of dealing with patent trolls and demand letters.