Promote Technology Development
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Retailers need to be on the cutting edge of technological innovation to better serve their customers. Retail innovation has been hampered, however, by an increasing number of patent lawsuits, with many coming from “patent troll” companies that buy obscure patents and threaten to sue over dubious infringement claims. With defense costs averaging $2 million, many victimized companies are forced to settle, and it is estimated that these abusive cases cost legitimate businesses close to $30 billion a year. While a recent Supreme Court decision has allowed more disputes to be settled administratively without the need to go to court, NRF is seeking reform legislation that would further protect retailers and limit patent lawsuits to legitimate claims.
- Patent Trolls – Legislation is still needed to end abuse of the patent system by limiting frivolous lawsuits over dubious infringement claims brought by patent trolls against retailers and other innocent end-users of technology.
- Frivolous Lawsuits – Congress needs to put an end to frivolous lawsuits brought by abusive trial lawyers regardless of whether the unfounded claims involve patent trolls, medical malpractice, labor law, the Americans with Disabilities Act or other issues.
The NRF Retail Opportunity Index encourages Congress to:
- Invest in U.S. jobs by implementing tax policy that makes U.S. companies competitive in the global economy and provides a level playing field among all sectors of the economy and all sectors of retail whether the merchant delivers its products in a store, through the mail or over the Internet.
- Open markets for consumer goods by tearing down trade barriers that drive up prices for American shoppers and limit export markets for American companies, ending regulations that artificially drive up prices, and making it easier for foreign visitors to come to the United States to shop.
- Modernize U.S. infrastructure by improving and expanding the current transportation system in order to end bottlenecks and inefficiencies and to make it easier for American companies to grow and be competitive.
- Support workforce investment by supporting jobs and economic growth rather than union organizers and expensive new regulations and mandates.
- Foster innovation in customer experience by working with retailers to improve credit and debit card security through agreed-upon standards rather than bank-issued mandates, and to protect privacy while still being able to give shoppers a customized and personalized experience online and in-store.
- Promote technology development by passing reform legislation that would block frivolous lawsuits threatened by “patent trolls” over dubious infringement claims.
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