America’s patent system has long served to foster great innovation while rewarding small inventors for their intellectual contributions to progress. Unfortunately, the actions of a few increasingly serve to undermine this system and encumber an alarming variety and number of our country’s small businesses. It is perhaps a testament to how pervasive the problem is that home builders have now become the latest, though surely not the last, targets of so-called “patent trolls” and their deceptive patent demand letters.
Patent trolls make use of misleading and threatening patent demand letters to extort licensing fees from small businesses that often lack the resources and expertise to defend themselves from specious claims of patent infringement.
NAHB believes that small businesses and inventors alike would benefit greatly from a higher standard of transparency for patent demand letters. In particular, provisions requiring specific factual allegations of infringement in demand letters would serve the dual purpose of equipping small businesses to make informed decisions about next steps while also preserving all of the rights and remedies of patent holders.