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SALT LAKE CITY,
July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) today joined a broad-based, cross section of industry associations in calling for immediate patent litigation reforms to halt the national scourge of "patent troll" lawsuits.
"Annually these suits, masquerading as legitimate patent infringement cases, siphon billions into the pockets of clever shell companies set up to assert frivolous lawsuits in the hopes that targeted companies will pay off the trolls rather than pay the costs to fight," said
Jonathan Johnson, executive vice chairman and former general counsel of Overstock.com. "These lawyer-driven troll entities do not contribute to the economy and have too long exploited the legal system. It is time for change," Johnson said.
Yesterday, 50 trade associations, representing thousands of companies throughout
the United States, sent
a letter to the Congressional leadership of both houses, calling for reform. The letter noted that over
$29 billion are lost annually to patent troll suits. The letter also stated that President Obama has now joined the fight, urging a legislative fix. In recent months, members of both political parties have sponsored measures aimed at curbing these suits.
"We have long been a public voice in support of patent troll suit reform," said
Patrick Byrne, chairman and CEO of Overstock.com. "We've earned a well-deserved reputation of fighting these spurious actions from patent troll squeegee boys. We'll fight through to jury verdicts that find non-infringement and invalidate patents rather than pay off these bullies."
In a recent case upheld on appeal, Overstock.com, and likeminded e-tailer NewEgg, litigated and won a verdict against French-based Alcatel-Lucent over three patents Alcatel wrongly asserted against the two companies. The jury verdict found no infringement and invalidated a key communications patent Alcatel-Lucent had successfully asserted against many internet companies, routinely extracting settlements where the costs of a legal defense seemed too steep for these companies to bear.