NRF Logo newTrolls Use Fear and Intimidation to Extort Legitimate Business Owners

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French in advance of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet hearing on patent reform, at which General Counsel Mark Griffin advocated for comprehensive legislation:

“Patent trolls do not create anything, they do not produce anything and they do not sell anything. Trolls exist only on paper and are designed and financed solely to extort legitimate business owners through a mixture of fear and intimidation, perpetuated on the misuse of the patent system and patent law.

“These patent entities survive on threats of litigation and settlements from everyday businesses, large and small, to the tune of $30 billion a year. Auto manufacturers, bankers, grocers, realtors, restaurants, retailers, and technology companies have all been targeted and victimized by trolls.

“Their extortion-driven business model is simple: purchase overly-broad and vague patents, hire attorneys and then send out a series of demand letters to businesses in hopes that a firm or two would rather pay a settlement or licensing fee than fight the infringement claim in court.

“Congress needs to address the proliferation of patent trolls by passing comprehensive legislation that protects intellectual property and Main Street businesses. Advancing bipartisan legislation, such as the Innovation Act, will provide defendants the resources and tools necessary to combat patent trolls’ most egregious tactics.

“It is our hope that Congress really hears the horror stories of retailers and works to squash patent trolls once and for all.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.