Roberta Hurley

Owner of Southeastern Employment Services, a staffing agency in Connecticut

My company helps people with disabilities find employment in the state of Connecticut. About two years ago, I started receiving legal letters from shell companies in Delaware that claimed we were infringing their patent for using the scan-to-email function on our copier and would be fined $1,000 for each of our 75 staff members. I knew I could not afford to pay $75,000, pay my staff and keep my business, so I was forced to hire a patent attorney to figure out my next steps and ultimately fight back.

My business is luckily still standing, but I am always afraid that the trolls will come back. I have not been able to hire employees that I otherwise would have, and these threats have hurt my business and distracted from our ability to serve Connecticut communities.

If the trolls had been successful, I would have had to close my doors, close to 80 people would have lost their jobs, and people with disabilities would have lost our services. Congress must ensure that patent trolls are not able to extort those who give back to our country and shutter small businesses by passing comprehensive patent reform. You can read more about my story here.

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