The American Institute of CPAs is asking Congress to pass legislation that would crack down on so-called “patent trolls,” companies that buy up old patents and threaten lawsuits unless they receive high licensing fees from firms and corporations.

In letters to lawmakers in the House and Senate, the AICPA expressed support Wednesday for legislation in each chamber “that we believe will protect our members and countless other individuals and businesses from unwarranted litigation from ‘patent trolls’.” Signed by AICPA president and CEO Barry C. Melancon, the letters urge support for S. 1137, the PATENT Act, in the Senate, and H.R. 9, The Innovation Act, in the House.

Patent trolls, or patent holding companies, are a growing problem for CPA firms, state CPA societies and other businesses nationwide, according to the AICPA.

“Numerous AICPA members have reported receiving letters from licensing entities of a PHC,” Melancon wrote. “These licensing requests accuse our members of misusing patented technology, with most of the accusations vaguely citing technology and software from the early days of the Internet.”

The AICPA said it supports both measures, which are intended to address the misuse of the patent system and will rid the courts of frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits. Although not identical, both pieces of legislation seek to implement many vital measures that will strengthen industry and promote innovation.

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