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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has expressed its disapproval of continued delay on a patent reform vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, describing the lack of action as "both disappointing for our industry and a win for the trolls." Arlington, Va.-based FMI has teamed with other retail groups and end users for more than a year on the issue.
Virginia Patent Demand Legislation
"While the U.S. Senate has failed to act, states have chosen to take on the trolls and are winning," said FMI SVP of Government and Public Affairs Jennifer Hatcher. "This year in the Virginia legislature, Delegate Israel O'Quinn was successful in moving patent demand letter legislation through both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. …. We hope to see similar action in other states soon."
Despite that victory, Hatcher acknowledged that "states are limited in what they can do to protect consumers and businesses from patent trolls, and Congress must also act to put an end to their abusive practices."
Last year, she noted, the House passed Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte's patent reform bill (H.R.3309) with a decisive bipartisan vote of 325 to 91. In the six months since that time, the trade organization has worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee and other stakeholders on getting legislation passed.
Patent trolls are firms that acquire old, often invalid, patents for widely adopted retail techology devices, with the sole intention of enforcing the patents.