The United States House of Representatives will hold a critical vote on H.R. 9, The Innovation Act of 2015. Hopefully, you responded to the NAR Call for Action which was emailed and texted to REALTORS® across all fifty states.
This legislation serves to protect the real estate industry from frivolous lawsuits brought by patent trolls. REALTORS® are targeted by patent trolls at alarming rates. Patent trolls do not manufacturer or make anything. They exist solely to purchase old patents and to use the threat of expensive lawsuits to extort money from legitimate businesses. The Innovation Act will help close the loopholes in our legal system that allow trolls to thrive.
Patent trolls target REALTORS® in their role as end-users of common business technologies:
- Dropdown menus on websites
- Website mapping technologies
- On line search alert functions
- Scan-to-email technologies
Congress must pass common-sense comprehensive patent litigation reform to protect Main Street businesses from patent troll abuse. We wish to see a final bill that will:
- Require patent demand letters to include basic information about the alleged infringement and the method by which a royalty demand is calculated;
- Require patent owners to reveal their ownership when demanding licenses and royalties;
- Protect customers and end users from lawsuits based on infringements by manufacturers and service providers;
- Require the party bringing the lawsuit to disclose the bases and scope of the suit in the initial pleading;
- Create greater clarity in the discovery process, including when and what information is discoverable throughout the litigation process; and
- Require more patent owners to pay for defendants’ legal fees and costs when a lawsuit alleging infringement is objectively baseless and frivolous.
To know more about this legislation and more, visit the REALTOR® Action Center at www.naractioncenter.com.