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Small Business Owners Support Legislation Reforming Patent System

Publisher: 
Small Business Majority
Date: 
Saturday, 12 April, 2014

In communities across the United States, it is the jobs small businesses provide and the consumers they serve that keep our economic recovery moving. However, this recovery is threatened when small businesses are faced with costly and frivolous lawsuits brought on by patent assertion entities—commonly referred to as patent trolls. Small Business Majority's national scientific opinion polling found small firms support patent reform legislation that would help prevent patent trolls from targeting small businesses.

Small business owners understand that in order to prevent these attacks, reform is needed to strengthen the U.S. patent system. Our polling found that by more than a 3:1 margin, small employers support the Innovation Act—legislation that would change the rules and regulations surrounding patent infringement claims to reduce frivolous lawsuits brought by patent trolls. When small employers learned more about the provisions within the bill, their support grew even stronger.

Key Findings

Small employers support legislation that seeks to reform the patent system. It would require, among other things, more specificity in patent lawsuits and more transparency in patent ownership, and protect end users of commonly used technologies from being targeted by patent trolls: By more than a 3:1 margin, small employers support the Innovation Act—legislation that would change the rules and regulations surrounding patent infringement lawsuits to reduce frivolous lawsuits brought by patent assertion entities. When small employers learned more about the provisions within the bill, their support grew even stronger.

The vast majority of entrepreneurs believe end users should be protected from frivolous patent lawsuits: 77% of small businesses believe they should be protected from patent trolls by requiring them to sue the party that is actually responsible for the infringement, not the end users who had no input into the product. Nearly half (46%) of respondents strongly support this provision.

Entrepreneurs agree end users of common technologies should be protected from patent infringement lawsuits 

Small businesses agree patent trolls should be penalized for fraudulent patent assertions or abusive demand letters: Nearly three-fourths (73%) of small business owners believe patent trolls should be deterred by penalizing them for filing fraudulent patent assertions or sending abusive demand letters. Seventy-six percent believe courts should impose financial sanctions against patent trolls that file baseless lawsuits.

Small business owners support more transparency in patent lawsuits: 77% of small employers support a provision that would require more transparency in patent lawsuits by requiring plaintiffs to disclose who the owner of a patent is before litigation, so that it is clear who stands to benefit financially from the lawsuit. Half of entrepreneurs strongly support this provision

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