Calling patent trolls a growing threat to economic growth, Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive of the National Restaurant Association, voiced the organization's continuing support for legislative proposals to keep them in check earlier this week.

Sweeney’s comments kicked off the “Great Patent Debate,” a discussion in Washington, D.C., among business leaders and lawmakers on how to address patent assertion entities, or PAEs, which was sponsored by Politco Pro.

Read more about how patent trolls are affecting the restaurant industry >>

PAEs, commonly referred to as patent trolls, threaten litigation over the use of such common technologies as Wi-Fi and QR codes. The NRA is a member of the Main Street Patent Coalition, a group of trade associations urging comprehensive patent reform legislation.

"These frivolous lawsuits have cost the U.S. economy half a trillion dollars in the last 20 years,” Sweeney said. “We hear from our restaurant and foodservice company members that the PAE demands they receive have negatively impacted their businesses — stifling innovation by limiting their ability to employ emerging technologies in everyday aspects of their operations.”
 
Watch a video with more of Sweeney’s comments >>

Contact Robin Lee Allen at robinlee.allen@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @RobinLeeAllen.