In an open letter to the press, policymakers and the technology community, the executive director of Engine, an advocacy organization for technology entrepreneurship, has called the Senate’s failure to vote on patent-reform legislation that would have curbed the excesses of nonpracticing entities (NPEs)—those organizations that focus their efforts on making money by litigating patent-infringement claims—an unpleasant surprise, but not a loss. According to Julie Samuels, the media got the story wrong by calling tech “D.C’s biggest loser,” noting that “this Congress is notorious for getting nothing done. It should come as no surprise that tech’s causes are not miraculously turning into legislation. No one’s are.”
Samuels also claimed that Washington, D.C.’s policy makers have failed to recognize that the “tech community” is “actually becoming the American electorate at large. Soon, there will be no distinction between the tech community and the rest of the country. As today’s digital natives turn 18, they all become tech voters.” She reminded the tech community that it is already having an impact on NPEs, contending that they “are on the defensive” with courts shifting fees to the losers of “spurious lawsuits” and taking a closer look at NPE practices and patent quality. She also reminded them that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating NPEs and protecting consumers from their worst behaviors. She concludes, “Our efforts have changed substantive debates in many areas, and have significantly moved the state of the law—even without passing legislation yet this year.” See Recode.net, June 5, 2014.