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Politico names fight against patent trolls 'best overall advocacy' of 2013

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Published on: 12/23/2013

Thompson Coburn Lobbying & Policy members Ken Salomon, Haley Akins, and Jim Burger took an active part in what Politico named the "Best overall advocacy success" of 2013.

In a congressional year mired in political stalemates, Politico said as part of its 2013 Year in Review, the wide-ranging campaign against abusive patent-assertion entities, or so-called patent trolls, proved to be one of the few bright spots among the year's lobbying efforts.

"Not only did the advocates for patent reform get a vote from a House of Representatives seemingly averse to passing legislation, but they also won the branding battle early," reporter Bryan Tau wrote in the Dec. 20 Politico Influence. "Who wants to be in the position of defending 'trolls,' after all?"

Tau commended the coalition for securing near-total media acceptance of the term "patent troll" and praised lobbyists for "put[ting] the issue back on the radar just two years after the last major patent overall." Ken, Haley, and Jim, with support from Thompson Coburn intellectual property partner Michael Parks, represented Overstock.com as the House of Representatives prepared and passed the Innovation Act with a remarkable bipartisan vote of 325 to 91.

Among other provisions that the Lobbying and Policy group worked on for Overstock was the Act's "Customer Suit Exception," which provides relief to end-use consumers who are hit with infringement actions by patent trolls.

The effort will continue next year. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a Dec. 17 hearing on its version of the anti-troll bill. A committee markup and full Senate vote could come in the quarter of 2014.