Entrepreneurs to Congress: Fix the Patent Troll Problem

Today, more than 60 entrepreneurs wrote to Congress demanding Congress do something about the growing threat patent assertion entities are creating for the startup community.  Led by Engine Advocacy and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, these entrepreneurs are joining CCIA in supporting the reintroduction of the SHIELD Act by Representatives DeFazio and Chaffetz today.

The text of the letter by the entrepreneurs, as well as a list of all the signatories is below.

Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers,

We, the undersigned, write today as entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators in support of the Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act and other legislative measures aimed at reducing costly litigation created by non-practicing entities, often referred to as patent trolls. Congress should consider measures that shift incentives away from those who game the system and toward an innovative economy and competitive market.

As President Obama acknowledged earlier this month, patent trolls, “essentially leverage and hijack” patents originally issued to others in an effort to “extort” money through litigation. Young, innovative companies are increasingly targets of these lawsuits. While big companies paid much of the $29 billion in direct costs resulting from activities by patent trolls in 2011, the costs made up a larger share of small companies’ revenue. In fact, the majority of companies targeted by patent trolls have less than $10 million in revenue.

Without startups, there would have been no net job growth in the United States over the last two decades. Congress needs to make measures like the SHIELD Act a priority in 2013 so that innovative companies and entrepreneurs can continue to grow without the threats posed by non-practicing entities. Congress must take action and fix the patent troll problem. We urge the committee to call hearings on patent troll litigation and to solicit information from the innovation community at-large.

Sincerely,

Nathan Allen
Four First Names

Luis Arbulu
Hattery

Joen Asmussen
Automattic Inc.

Seth Bannon
Amicus

James R Bazet
Cobra Electronics Corporation

Matthew Bellows
Yesware, Inc

Paul Berberian
Orbotix, Inc.

Aaron N. Block
BayRu LLC

Matthew Y. Blumberg
Return Path, Inc.

Brad Burnham
Union Square Ventures

David Cohen
TechStars

Jessica Cole
Roammeo, Inc.

Dave Copps
PureDiscovery

Mark Cuban
Dallas Mavericks

Rutul Davè
Bright Funds, Inc.

Pete Davies
Automattic Inc

Christian Dawson
Internet Infrastructure Coalition

Derek Dukes
Dipity

Mat Ellis
Cloudability

Edward Engler
Pittsburgh Equity Partners

Tim Enwall
Mobiplug Networks, Inc

Brad Feld
Foundry Group

Rand Fishkin
SEOmoz

Chris Franks
Moblify

William Randolph Fry
Fry’s Electronics, Inc.

Nick Hamze
Automattic Inc.

Erick Hitter
Automattic Inc

Trenidad Hubbard
Game Face Sports International, LLC

Terry Floyd Johnson
Showdown Royal

Jeevan Kalanithi
Sifteo

Seth Levine
Foundary Group

John Levisay
Sympoz Inc.

Benjamin Lewis
The MadCelt Studios

David Mandell
PivotDesk

Michael Masnick
Floor64, Inc.

Ryan McIntyre
Foundry Group

Josh Mendelsohn
Hattery

Jason Mendelson
Foundry Group

David Merrill
Sifteo

Jesse Miller
Attachments.me

Christopher Neumann
Datahero, Inc.

George Northup
Memeo Inc.

Ethan Rishon Oberman
SpiderOak, Inc.

Alexis Ohanian
reddit

Scott Petry
Authentic8

Daniel Pidgeon
Starpower

Lamar Porter
CIKI, Inc.

Ian C Rogers
Daisy, A Beats by Dre Company

Toni Schneider
Automattic Inc.

Paul Sieminski
Automattic Inc

Keith Lloyd Smith
BigDoor

Jesse Suchmann
DIGITAS

Steven Tiffen
The Tiffen Company

Joshua To
Hattery

Max Uhlenhuth
SilviaTerra

Elizabeth Urello
Automattic Inc

Alexander Shalek White
Next Big Sound

Victor Wong
PaperG

Skylar Woodward
Trumo, Inc.

Adam Wooley
Brute Labs

Gary Yacoubian
Specialty Technologies, LLC dba SVS

Jun Zhang
Vercury Inc.