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Federal Bill Would Boost Protections from Patent Trolls

| Tort Reform & Legal Climate

The passage of Senate Bill 648 (NC Commerce Protection Act) as part of the NC Chamber’s 2014 JOBS Agenda took a number of key steps to bring more certainty to our state’s legal climate. The Abusive Patent Assertions Act was one provision that was especially important for job creators as it gave businesses an added layer of protection from abusive patent trolls. These individuals and companies employ a seedy business model that specializes in buying up patent rights in mass with the sole intent of threatening companies with patent infringement lawsuits in order to collect money.

As North Carolina is home to a fast-growing tech sector based on innovative new ideas and products, and with Washington gridlock putting yet another important competitiveness issue at risk, the Chamber was proud of the bold stand our state’s leaders took last session to fight against patent abuse. Now Congress has the chance to follow North Carolina’s example. The Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act of 2015, approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee with a bipartisan vote in June, would put the weight of federal law behind the patent abuse prevention measures that now protect North Carolina companies at the state level.

Sen. Thom Tillis represents North Carolina on the Judiciary Committee that helped move the PATENT Act forward in June, providing one of the 16 favorable votes. In a recent letter to me, he expressed his belief that while the legislation is not perfect, he is committed to continuing to work with Senate colleagues to hone in on a measure that strengthens patent property rights and protects American innovation. That’s good news for North Carolina job creators, and we expect nothing less from a key member of our state’s Congressional delegation. I was encouraged by Sen. Tillis’ letter, and we will keep you updated on this issue as the Chamber continues to fight for a competitive legal climate in North Carolina.

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber