RILA presses Congress to take action on patent trolls

Arlington, Va.-based Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) says costly lawsuits are diverting time and resources from investments in the community and the consumer.

In a letter sent yesterday to House Committee on the Judiciary, RILA senior VP government affairs Bill Hughes stressed the importance of stopping the frivolous and costly lawsuits brought by non-practicing entities, also known as “patent trolls,” on the retail industry.

“The retail industry is a crucial driver of our nation’s economy, and as our customers embrace and utilize technology they expect retailers to do the same,” Hughes wrote in his letter. “However, abusive lawsuits brought by patent trolls have drained valuable time and resources from our companies.”

Retailers have worked to employ innovative technologies to benefit their customers, and some of these improvements have made them targets for lawsuits from patent trolls that have diverted costs from investments in our communities.

According to RILA, 22% of patent cases were filed by patent trolls in 2007. That number has exploded to 60% in 2012, and about 90% cases are without a judgment on the merits, meaning that companies often settle even though no actual infringement might have occurred.

A recent study reported the median cost of litigating a patent case through trial is between $650,000 and $5 million, and the discovery phase costs $350,000 to $3 million.

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