Commentary: It’s Time For Congress To Take On Patent Trolls

Gary Shapiro | Nextgov | August 5, 2013

Innovation is the backbone of the American Dream. Our nation has always encouraged entrepreneurs to turn their inventive and problem-solving ideas into the successful enterprises that drive our economy and create jobs. But in recent years, unethical lawyers have latched onto that success like parasites, draining businesses -- especially startups and small companies -- of the resources they need to grow and be successful. It’s past time for the government to step in and protect American businesses and the U.S. economy from patent trolls.

Patent assertion entities, more commonly known as patent trolls, drain our economy of billions of dollars each year, forcing businesses to pay out settlements or expensive legal fees at the expense of creating new jobs or growing their businesses. In 2011 alone, patent trolls cost U.S. businesses $80 billion in wealth creation. That same year, businesses directly paid out $29 billion to fight patent suits. Patent suits brought by trolls made up 62 percent of all patent lawsuits filed in 2012.