Cisco Systems Inc. and Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers on Thursday urged Congress to create a public registry of "patent troll" demand letters, saying transparency would help curb the unwarranted and costly attacks businesses and their customers face from the patent assertion entities (PAEs).
Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler and EFF senior staff attorney Julie Samuels said at a U.S. Senate hearing that the patent troll letters—which claim patent infringement due to the use of a product or service and demand payment to avoid litigation—are used to scare manufacturers' customers into settlements. The patent trolls' end-user targets, however, often are afraid to talk openly about the letters, fearing more attention from the PAEs and allowing them to thrive, they said.
EFF has learned about this apprehension first hand through its Trolling Effects website, which is building a public database of demand letters, Samuels said. The website, which the group launched in July, only has about 30 of the letters.