Press Release Patent Reform

Public Knowledge Opposes TROL Act as Bill Moves to Markup

April 28, 2015 ,

Today, Public Knowledge and other consumer groups sent a letter opposing The Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act to Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill, which is intended to shield consumers from abusive patent demand letters, will proceed to markup Wednesday, April 29 at 10 a.m. Public Knowledge opposes the bill's language in its current form and asks for stronger protections in the consumer interest.

The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge:

“Abusive patent demand letters are a major problem today, and we support legislation that curbs such abuses and strongly protects the public. But this bill fails to do so, only weakly protecting businesses and individuals, and even going so far as to undo stronger protections for residents of the twenty-two states that have enacted individual demand letter laws.

“We do recognize the Committee’s significant efforts in dealing with this difficult issue, and thank the Committee for taking many steps toward improving this draft bill, in several circumstances at the suggestion of the undersigned. Work on this bill can and should continue. Even though this bill cannot be the beginning and the end of patent reform—the problems with the system go beyond demand letters—it is a critical piece of that reform effort.

“But it would be a mistake for this Committee to place its imprimatur on the bill as currently drafted. The bill should protect small businesses, consumers, and the public from abusive patent demand letters. It does not sufficiently do so. Accordingly, we are unable to support it, and urge members of the Committee to vote against it.”

You may view the full letter here.