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McCaskill to Lead Senate Hearing to Protect Jobs, Businesses from ‘Patent Trolls’

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (MO.)

Thursday: McCaskill to Lead Senate Hearing to Protect Jobs, Businesses from ‘Patent Trolls’

Companies that use ‘demand letters’ to intimidate small businesses, discourage innovation are new target for Senator

WASHINGTON – In her ongoing effort to protect and expand job and business opportunities, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill will lead a Senate hearing on Thursday to examine how “patent trolls”—companies that buy patents, but then fail to actually produce goods or services, opting instead to intimidate or sue other small businesses—are stifling innovation, and harming businesses and consumers.

McCaskill’s hearing in the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection will take place Thursday, November 7 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Watch the hearing live on Thursday, HERE.

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it would launch a study of “patent trolls,” officially known as patent assertion entities (PAEs), in an effort to gain better insight about their business practices. PAEs are companies that purchase patents and monetize them by demanding licensing fees or settlements—usually under the threat of litigation—from unsuspecting businesses using similar technologies. Unlike some businesses that assert patent rights over patents that they own and use, PAEs do not produce any goods or services with their patents.

Most concerning are PAEs that use “demand letters” to unfairly or deceptively target small businesses, which often do not have the resources to engage in protracted and costly patent litigation.

McCaskill—Chairman of the Consumer Protection subcommittee—recently launched an online tool that allows individuals to report scams and fraud they encounter in advertising and sales.The “Submit Your Scam” button at www.McCaskill.senate.gov allows constituents to submit personal stories and tips to help McCaskill crack down on scams and protect consumers. Read more about McCaskill’s fight to protect American consumers, HERE.

Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance

Thursday, November 7

10:00 a.m. ET

Russell Senate Office Building, 253

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