Daily Illuminator

April 9, 2014: Help Stop The Trolls

Patent trolling - which is often no better than simple extortion - threatens thousands of small businesses every year. Through a haze of shell companies, lawyers, and deliberately vague paperwork, the trolls shake down tech startups, inventors, and often even end users. "So . . . you have a fax machine in your office? You're in violation of our patent . . ."

The House of Representatives passed serious reforms in December with the bipartisan Innovation Act. Now the Senate needs to step up, brush aside the pro-extortion lobbyists, and pass a strong bill to stop this abuse. Read about current status here at The Hill blog.

You can call your senators with the "Fix Patents" call tool at fixpatents.org, created in partnership with Public Knowledge and the EFF. I just did it. Got a quick connection with the office of Senator Cornyn, who is in support. I had to redial to get Senator Cruz, whose nice office minion had no idea whether the Senator had a positon on this issue. So we chatted a bit.

Please do it today! Some of the startups this threatens are digital game creators. You want these folks to stay in business.

-- Steve Jackson

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