Startup Investors Nationwide Support Broad Patent Reform

 
 
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Dear Congress:
 
Each year, we invest hundreds of millions of dollars in software and information technology businesses and emerging mobile technologies. Together with other investors, we commit more than $1 billion annually in angel and venture capital, which ensures the continuing growth of young, high-tech companies that employ 1.4 million people. We are the fuel in America’s startup economy engine.  
 
We write to urge comprehensive legislation to address the troubling growth and success of the patent troll business model. Young, innovative companies are increasingly threatened and targeted by patent troll lawsuits. While big companies paid the lion’s share of the $29 billion of direct costs resulting from patent troll activities in 2011, the costs borne by small companies are a proportionately larger share of their revenues. In fact, the majority of companies targeted by patent trolls have less than $10 million in revenue.
 
Congress and the Administration are considering many different reform proposals.  None alone will fix the problem, but together they will make a substantial dent in what one famous troll recently called “a new industry.”  
 
Successful legislation should make it harder to be a patent troll, and easier for targeted businesses to protect and defend themselves. Legislation should:
  • Make it easier to efficiently review patents at the Patent Office, as an alternative to litigation.  
  • Increase transparency by requiring patent trolls to specify, in complaints and demand letters, which patent and what claims are infringed, and specifically how the offending product or technology infringes.
  • Limit the scope of expensive litigation discovery.
  • Require patent trolls to pay legal fees and other costs incurred by prevailing defendants.
  • Protect end users of technology (e.g., wi-fi, printers and scanners, and APIs) from being liable for infringements by technology providers.  
Our Founders did not intend to incentivize patent trolling in the Constitution; nor did Congress intend the Patent Act to promote this industry. Comprehensive legislation to reduce abusive patent litigation will make the patent troll business model less attractive, and will protect software, mobile and information technology entrepreneurs. In turn, our digital economy will continue to grow and so will our national economy.
 

STARTUP INVESTORS: JOIN THE LETTER

Your Location
Mark Cuban
Investor in over 70 Startups
Dallas, TX
Hunter Walk
Homebrew
San Francisco, CA
Jason Mendelson
Foundry Group
Boulder, CO
Brad Feld
Foundry Group
Boulder, CO
Brad Burnham
Union Square Ventures
New York, NY
Fred Wilson
Union Square Ventures
New York, NY
Brett Topche
MentorTech Ventures
Philadelphia, PA
Jeff Bussgang
Flybridge Capital
Boston, MA
Bijan Sabet
Spark Capital
Boston, MA
Glen Bressner
Originate Ventures
Bethlehem, PA
Ron Conway
SV Angel
San Francisco, CA
David Lee
SV Angel
San Francisco, CA
Andrew McLaughlin
BetaWorks
New York, NY
David Weekly
Startup Founder and Angel Investor
Palo Alto, CA
John Lilly
Greylock Partners
Menlo Park, CA
Reid Hoffman
Greylock Partners
Menlo Park, CA
Bill Gurley
Benchmark Capital
Menlo Park, CA
Jeff Clavier
SoftTechVC
Palo Alto, CA
David Bradbury
Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies
Burlington, VT
Charlie O’Donnell
Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
New York, NJ
Matt McCall
Pritzker Venture Capital Group
Chicago, IL
Dan Marriott
Stripes Group
New York, NY
Chris Marks
High Country Venture
Boulder, CO
David Gold
Access Venture Partners
Westminster, CO
Kirk Holland
Access Venture Partners
Westminster, CO
Nicole Glaros
Techstars
Boulder, CO
Paul Graham
Y Combinator
Mountain View, CA
Greg Gottesman
Madrona Venture Group
Seattle, WA
Len Jordan
Madrona Venture Group
Seattle, WA
Trevor Loy
Flywheel Ventures
Albuquerque, NM
Josh Mendelsohn
Hangar
San Francisco, CA
Devin Talbott
Enlightenment Capital
Washington, DC
Jorge M. Torres
Silas Capital
New York, NY
Michael Neril
Webb Investment Network
San Francisco, CA
Alexis Ohanian
Angel Investor
New York, NY
Peter Esperrago
Cultivation Capital
St. Louis, MO
Scott Levine
iSelect Fund
Clayton, MO
Gil Bickel
St. Louis Arch Angels
St. Louis, MO
Ron Valderrama
socializewize.com
Dallas, TX 75219
Travis Kahn
TechLaunch
Clifton, NJ 07013
Jim McKelvey
Cultivation Capital and Square, Inc.
St. Louis, MO
Abby Fichtner
Harvard Chick Labs
Salem, NH 03079
Charles Oliver
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Erik Fichtner
Glenwood, IA 51534
Nabyl Charania
Rokk3r Labs
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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