Micron Technology Inc., one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, knows a thing or two about communication. Its chips are in cell phones, wireless devices and computers worldwide. But when it came to getting the company’s message on patent reform to legislators this year, Micron bosses in Boise, Idaho, put down the phone and hired their own Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist to press the flesh.
Micron opened a K Street office in March, with former Intel lobbyist Melika Carroll as its new director of federal government affairs. Patent reform is at the top of her agenda. The company spent nearly $1.8 million lobbying for patent reform in 2006, relying on firms like King & Spalding and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. With a portfolio of about 14,500 patents and the experience of costly patent litigation, Micron knows that the ante is high. Earlier legislative efforts at patent reform foundered, but the company, a key player in a new high-tech industry coalition, thinks that congressional patent reform is finally a real prospect in 2007 — and it’s spending the money to make it happen its way.
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