Power in Numbers: Companies Join Patent-Reform Coalition

Power in Numbers: Companies Join Patent-Reform Coalition

Earlier this week, we brought you news of patent reform legislation out of Washington State. Now, we share the renewed reform efforts taking place in Washington, D.C.

As The Washington Post reports, patent trolls are no longer a “tech-sector problem.” Department stores, restaurant chains, search engines and social networks have united to form a powerful coalition eager for patent reform. The “super-coalition,” known as United for Patent Reform, includes — so far — Google, Facebook, Adobe, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, telecom companies like Verizon and the restaurant lobby and hotel industry, too.

After patent reform legislation died in the Senate last year, Congress will attempt to tackle the matter again in 2015. And the new patent coalition will be ready to make an impression. In the plans are heavy advertising, events in lawmakers’ home districts and key meetings with lawmakers.

In a statement to The Post, Jon Potter, president of the Application Developers’ Alliance, believes that because patent reform affects so many types of businesses, it could be an issue that the White House and Republican-controlled Congress can agree on. He added:

“When patent reform was being fought several years ago, it was tech versus pharma. In the last year, it became quite clear … this is no longer a tech-industry issue. It’s become much, much broader.”

United for Patent Reform’s numbers are expected to grow. According to the Post’s report, the coalition has reached out to associations representing start-ups and app developers, too. The Internet Association, which represents Netflix, reddit and eBay, may soon join the growing group effort. Patent trolls’ predatory-practice days may be numbered.

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