On Feb. 26, 2015, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade held a hearing titled “Update: Patent Demand Letter Practices and Solutions.” Vince Malta, NAR’s 2015 Liaison for Law and Policy, testified on behalf of NAR and the United for Patent Reform Coalition, a diverse group of American businesses committed to curbing patent abuses. Patent reform is crucial to REALTORS® as the real estate industry is more and more dependent on the use of information technology and software products to market properties and manage their businesses. Frivolous patent infringement lawsuits for everyday business practices are impacting REALTORS® and causing them to divert resources away from offering new features or investment in technologies that enhance the real estate experience. For example, patent trolls have alleged infringement for providing searchable databases of property listings, locating points of interest on a map, and delivering updates to consumers when properties matching their search criteria come on the market. NAR continues to urge Congress to act swiftly to enact meaningful demand letter reform, which will deter the patent troll business model of extracting settlements by sending deceptive settlement demands.
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