#fixpatents: On the Hill with Startups, CEA, and Engine


By CEA and Engine

On Tuesday, Engine and CEA held a startup fly-in to advocate in support of the the Innovation Act and PATENT Act, which would bring critical reforms to the nation’s patent system. We were joined in DC by founders and executives from TMSoft, MapBox, Smart Ride, Jump Rope, Meetup, Kickstarter, and Etsy. Before the jam-packed day of meetings, CEA and Engine hosted these startups from across the U.S. at the Association’s Innovation House on Capitol Hill. The #fixpatents team shared their own stories about battling trolls before conveying to lawmakers how devastating this legalized extortion is to small companies.

CEA house fly in
Photo courtesy of the Consumer Electronics Association


The day was a great success as we went from office to office, between the House, Senate, and Capitol, for meetings with members of the Judiciary Committees of each house. We used the occasion to disseminate Engine’s latest booklet of stories from startups that have been targeted by patent trolls.

Patent fly-in trolley

The #fixpatents team came out of meetings optimistic that legislators are committed to passing bills that will fix the current state of abusive patent litigation. Members and their staff were highly engaged, and many were surprised to hear the stories of those startups in attendance. The startups’ experiences very clearly underscored the impact of the patent troll problem and the extortion that happens behind the closed doors of settlement.

patent fly-in jeffries
Photo courtesy of the Consumer Electronics Association

Jump Rope discussed their inability to recover fees, despite winning their case against a troll that claimed its patent covered reserving the future purchase of goods. And then there was TMSoft who estimated their troll case costing $190,000 in legal work before even setting foot in the courtroom. We reiterated the need for a more level playing field that would afford defendants the chance to fight back.

We’d like to thank Franklin Square Group and TwinLogic Strategies, as well as our Congressional co-hosts for their assistance in coordinating the event. You can see what the #fixpatents team had to say and hear their personal stories about fighting for innovation in the face of troll attacks. Check here for forthcoming videos from CEA and Engine’s Patent Reform Day.

Here’s to getting patent reform across the finish line!