Letter to the editor: Support RAIA


American manufacturers need the protection patents provide, but they do not need bad actors trying to extort money from them by filing bogus patent infringement suits. That is why, as the owner of a Hoosier manufacturing company, I support a new bill in Congress aimed at reining in the destructive tactics of patent trolls.

Companies, like mine, deserve to have their innovative designs protected by patents. But, patents can also be misused to take advantage of manufacturers. Unfortunately, there is an active industry composed of companies, known as non-practicing entities (NPEs) or patent trolls, that exist solely to make money off of patent infringement claims.

These shell corporations do not produce products or services. Instead, they clog the courts with baseless patent lawsuits, and hope to obtain monetary settlements from their targets, legitimate businesses that contribute meaningfully to the economy. Even though no one wants to settle, companies frequently do so to avoid expenses and resources wasted on mounting a legal defense. On average, patent lawsuits drag on for five years and cost more than $5 million in legal fees.

Patent litigation increased by more than 43% from first quarter 2020 to 2021 with the frivolous, meritless claims of patent trolls making up the majority of those legal actions. Their victims range from large, high-tech and pharmaceutical companies to small manufacturers, like me.

Because I am very concerned about protecting US manufactures from abusive patent litigation and patent trolls, I joined the US-MADE coalition to work with other manufacturers from around the country on this issue.

A promising new development is the recent introduction of the bipartisan “Restoring the America Invents Act” (RAIA), led by Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Cornyn (R-TX). This legislation would reaffirm the benefits and intent of a previous law – the America Invents Act (AIA) – that has been rendered less effective by counterproductive actions from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the previous Administration. The RAIA, if passed, would restore the AIA’s protections for U.S. manufacturers and help curb patent troll activity. I urge Indiana Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun to cosponsor the legislation, and Congress should act to pass it into law.

U.S. manufacturing is the lifeblood of our country’s economy, and is vital to communities across Indiana and the country. Let’s keep it that way.

Brandon Reeve

CEO/President of Applied Fabricators (Greenfield)