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Congress Needs to Change Law to Protect Small Businesses from Legal Patent Troll Extortion, Says CTA

The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, formerly Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, regarding Thursday's Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC) hearing entitled, "An Examination of Changes to the U.S. Patent System & Impacts on America's Small Businesses":

"Patent trolls engage in legalized extortion, costing small businesses jobs and sometimes even forcing entrepreneurs into bankruptcy. Eighty percent of patent troll victims are small and medium-sized businesses, including some of CTA's small business entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, most small businesses have no choice but to pay trolls' extortion demands because they can't afford to pay for a lengthy court fight to prove their innocence.

"Congress needs to stop abusive patent trolling that not only hurts entrepreneurs, but undermines the economy - draining an estimated $80 billion from the U.S. economy each year. That's $1.5 billion every week that entrepreneurs could be investing in R&D or hiring more employees. We urge the Senate to pass the Patent Act to protect small business owners across the country from patent extortion."

Small Business Owners Speak Out

"Technology startups are a crucial part of the nation's economy, but the need for patent reform affects so much more than just my industry," said Austin Meyer, founder of Laminar Research and creator of X-Plane. "Businesses of all sizes - from Main Street retailers and hotels to grocers, convenience stores and cafes - have been the victims of unnecessary lawsuits and overly broad claims by patent trolls. Congress must stand with American businesses that create goods and services, rather than with those that destroy them, and support comprehensive patent reform."

"There's no way to get your money back, even if you were to go through the process, spend millions of dollars and win - they're just a shell company without any assets," said Todd Moore, founder of TMSOFT and the White Noise app. "The odds are stacked against you when you're dealing with patent trolls. They're utilizing every loophole and abusing the patent system. That's why we need Congress to step in."

About Consumer Technology Association:

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, formerly Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, is the trade association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES® – the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry services.

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