WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 5, 2013 – The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing, in a 325-91vote, H.R. 3309, the “Innovation Act,” by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) which provides a legislative fix to many of the abuses of the legal and patent system by what are commonly known as patent trolls.
“The Big ’I’ has been actively advocating for legislation to address the patent troll problem which has been plaguing America’s business community so we’re very pleased with today’s bipartisan action in the House,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “This important bill will go a long way toward curbing the efforts of these entities to abuse our patent system, and protect the IIABA’s small business membership and their clients from frivolous, baseless and costly lawsuits.”
In general, patent trolls, also called patent assertion entities (PAE), obtain patents of questionable quality and relevance (with no intention of manufacturing the product or providing the patented service themselves) and use them to sue or threaten to sue companies for infringement. Then they typically attempt to receive compensation through a settlement or licensing fees.
Initially, patent trolls targeted technology companies that created software or equipment by claiming they held the patent. Lately, they’ve grown more aggressive and are going after end-user small businesses for using items as common as a scanner or copier. The Big “I” has become increasingly alarmed by the prevalence of these practices and has been fighting to curb the abuses of patent trolls to protect the association’s membership and their customers.
“As the battle against patent trolls gains momentum and moves through the legislative process, the Big ‘I’ will continue working to protect the association’s small business membership,” says Ryan Young, Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs. “The Big ‘I’ looks forward to working toward Senate passage and sending bipartisan legislation to President Barack Obama’s desk as soon as possible.”
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.