|By Marketwired .||
|July 14, 2014 10:00 AM EDT||
OTTAWA, ONTARIO and PLANO, TEXAS -- (Marketwired) -- 07/14/14 -- Editors Note: There is a photo and a video associated with this press release.
Top patent licensing company Conversant Intellectual Property Management today launched an educational campaign against the use of extortionist demand letters that are victimizing thousands of small and medium-sized businesses. The goal of Conversant's Stand Up to the Demand campaign (www.standuptodemand.com) is to help small businesses spot unscrupulous demand letters sent by patent trolls.
Bad demand letters are a big problem for U.S. small businesses, costing them millions of dollars in settlement fees and legal costs annually. Patent trolls operating through shell companies typically send form letters to hundreds or even thousands of small businesses at a time, claiming with little or no evidence that they are 'infringing' the troll's patents. The letters demand 'licensing fees' ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 or more, and often threaten a patent infringement lawsuit that would cost those businesses far more to defend against in court - even if the recipient is innocent of any infringement.
"Sending ill-founded patent demand letters may be legal, but it's just plain wrong," said John Lindgren, President and CEO of Conversant. "This practice is hurting small business owners financially. It's giving legitimate patent licensing a bad name. And it's seriously undermining the public's belief in the U.S. patent system and the value of patents as stimulants to innovation and economic growth."
The first phase of Conversant's Stand Up to the Demand campaign includes a video, an infographic quiz, a comparison of a sample bad demand letter to a legitimate notice letter, and links to other resources that help people identify and respond to demand letters. Visitors to the campaign's web site are invited to share their stories of dealing with demand letters.
Common features of demand letters include failing to provide evidence that a business's product or service is infringing a particular patent, the threat of legal action rather than a request to negotiate, and a demand for a specific amount of money.
Recognizing the stakes involved, a dozen U.S. states have already enacted laws to curb extortionist demand letters, and 14 other states are actively considering such laws. In addition, the attorneys general of several states have brought suit against firms engaging in bad demand letter practices.
Conversant's Stand Up to the Demand campaign follows the company's November 2013 release of a ground-breaking set of ethical patent licensing principles. Conversant strongly advocates that patent licensing companies should take the lead in curbing patent abuses within their own industry.
Conversant is a global intellectual property management company known for its principled approach to patent licensing and its consistent delivery of results to companies with extensive intellectual property holdings. With a portfolio of more than 12,000 patents and patent applications under management, Conversant has expertise in semiconductor and communications technology. The company also develops innovative Flash memory technology for mass storage applications. Founded in 1975, Conversant has offices in Ottawa, Ontario; Plano, Texas; Tokyo, Japan; and Luxembourg.
Conversant is owned by a consortium of investors led by Sterling Partners of Chicago (www.sterlingpartners.com).
For more information, please visit www.conversantip.com.
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To view the video associated with this press release, please visit the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_TpaDBSadM.