A patent owner defending property rights is NOT a bully

By Gene Quinn
December 16, 2015

lady-justice-head-sand-ignorance Several weeks ago Colleen Chien, a law professor at Santa Clara University and a former senior advisor to President Obama on intellectual property and innovation, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that small businesses may want to simply ignore letters they receive from patent owners alleging infringement of a patent.

This is rather astonishing for several reasons. First, a patent is a right granted by the federal government that is supposed to be legally presumed to be valid. A recently departed senior advisor to the President who is advising potential infringers that they should just ignore notices telling them they are infringing speaks volumes about how the Executive Branch views patents and patent owners. Once upon a time patents and inventors were very highly regarded in our society, today they are seen as a nuisance that can and probably should be ignored, even by the White House apparently.

It is also rather astonishing to hear a former senior advisor to the President suggest that it is appropriate to ignore a letter alleging patent infringement given the Obama Administration has been so thoroughly supportive of yet further rounds of patent reform. Various of the pending patent reform bills that are now stalled in Congress have provisions relating to abusive, fraudulent and misleading demand letters sent by patent owners. If ignoring demand letters is both an acceptable and viable strategy why is it necessary to encumber the Patent Act with superfluous and unnecessary legislation? Simply ignore the letter sent by the patent owner and everything will be fine. Nothing to see here; no further patent reform legislation required.

As an attorney, I personally find it astonishing that anyone would ever advise one to ignore a letter putting them on notice that they are, or may be infringing an issued patent. Sure, there are bad actors in the industry who dramatically overstate matters in demand letters, but is someone who is not legally trained capable of making the fine line distinctions between what is an abusive demand letter and what is a legitimate business grievance? If untrained individuals are capable of making difficult legal determinations after considering all the legally relevant facts, interpreting the patent in question and taking into consideration the relevant case law, as Professor Chien seems to suggest, then why exactly are law schools charging students well over $100,000 dollars for an education? If anyone can do this without a lawyer it seems law schools are running some kind of scam themselves.

Of course, law schools are not running a scam, and untrained recipients of a notice or demand letter should no more be making their own legal determinations without counsel than they should be removing their own appendix. Clearly, it is extraordinarily bad advice to suggest that it is appropriate to ignore a letter that suggests the sender has an actionable grievance against the recipient. Indeed, such a suggestion borders on legal malpractice.

Also troubling is how Professor Chien characterizes large competitors who sue small companies as a “patent bully.” As with many complex issues, the issues surrounding the patent system defy simple characterization. Explaining these issues in a few words is difficult at best, and can easily lead the uninitiated reader to believe something that is simply inaccurate. That is precisely what happens here.

The problem I have is with the term “patent bully,” which continues to foster a false narrative about patent owners.

Bully” is defined as “A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. A hired ruffian; a thug.”

A patent owner that seeks to prevent another from infringing is NOT a bully, period. A patent owner that takes action to prevent infringement is merely protecting the property right they have been granted; a right purposefully granted by the federal government after a lengthy examination process.

It should be self evident to everyone that you cannot be a bully when you are standing up to protect a right you have been given. It is utter nonsense to even suggest that a patent owner seeking vindication from the trampling of rights could ever in any fair way be characterized as a bully.

Would you consider a business owner who prevented someone from breaking into their store and stealing a tangible product to be a bully? Of course not! They would be taking reasonable steps to protect themselves, and their property, from the thug who was stealing. But if that is the case, why then would you consider a patent owner who protects and defends their rights to be a bully? The truth is you could only consider a patent owner to be a bully if you do not believe patents are a property right. While everyone is entitled to hope and dream, we do have a definitively correct answer. The Patent Act unambiguously says: “patents shall have the attributes of personal property.” See 35 U.S.C. 261. Thus, if a shop owner defending a tangible item against a thief is not bullying then neither is a patent owner defending rights against an infringer. These examples are perfectly analogous from a legal standpoint.

Talking about a large entity enforcing a patent against a smaller entity also suggests, at least to me, that Chien believes that small companies should be allowed to infringe because they are small. There is no de minimis exception that allows infringement when a large company engages in infringing activity. Similarly, there is no exception that allows a small company to engage in infringement either. Patents are intentionally exclusionary. You cannot engage in activity that is infringing unless you obtain the rights from the patent owner. If you do not want to obtain the rights or you cannot obtain the rights because the owner is a competitor then you have to abstain. Of course, you can always engineer around and pursue an entirely new and innovative path yourself. That is the very purpose of the patent system and exactly how the patent system fosters continued innovation.

Is it possible that a litigant might engage in a way that would make it appropriate to label them a bully? Certainly, but that would be as the result of behavior, not as the result of ownership classification. Thus, it is entirely unhelpful to characterize patent owners as bullies. It perpetuates a false narrative that can only be intended to mislead.

Frankly, if we want to be perfectly honest about the state of the industry, we would be talking about those Patent using Entities that Refuse to Pay (PERPs). Thanks to the confluence of patent reform and Supreme Court precedent the people who are getting bullied the most are patent owners. These PERPs simply ignore all inquiries even from those with large portfolios and valid patents that are being infringed. They engage in a game of efficient infringement, or so it is called.

Efficient infringement is such a sanitary way to say – willfully stealing without paying.

Efficient infringement works because companies know immediately, as Professor Chien points out, that not all those who have patents that are infringed will sue. Of those that sue some will give up along the way because they can’t afford to fight. Of those that fight to the end at least some will lose. Of those that do win some will win very little. Of those that win anything, an even smaller subset will ever collect anything given how the Federal Circuit has so thoroughly changed the law of damages over the last decade. Given the climate and Supreme Court precedent and ever more ways to challenge a patent it is quite likely that many cases will never get past a motion to dismiss. The reality is the infringer has to win once; the patent owner has to win every legal battle.

With the deck so substantially stacked against the patent owner companies know that if they simply ignore all inquiries, both legitimate and those smaller number that are extortion, they can willfully infringe patented technology without having to pay anything. So why pay? That is efficient infringement; a cold business calculation that results in the patent owner being screwed.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 33 Comments comments.

  1. staff December 16, 2015 1:35 pm

    ‘With the deck so substantially stacked against the patent owner companies know that if they simply ignore all inquiries, both legitimate and those smaller number that are extortion, they can willfully infringe patented technology without having to pay anything.’

    True, the patent system is now one sided in favor of infringers -especially large. For small entities it is nearly dead. However, no one has EVER made the case that patent ‘extortion’ truly is a problem or even exists! That’s the same strategy invention thieves have used for years and why the system is now so skewed in their favor because Congress, Obama and the Courts have been so thoroughly and easily (some will say conveniently) duped. Mere accusation is not fact. Make infringers prove it. Don’t fall so easily for their Chinese industrialized propaganda.

    For more information please visit us at https://aminventorsforjustice.wordpress.com/
    or, contact us at tifj@mail.com

  2. Roland December 17, 2015 8:08 am

    “Would you consider a business owner who prevented someone from breaking into their store and stealing a tangible product to be a bully? Of course not!”

    The problem is, as we’ve seen repeatedly in recent years, that business owners haven’t been simply protecting their store from actual break-ins, but are seemingly acting more along the lines of the much disliked and discredited UK ‘sus’ laws. Namely, you’re doing something similar to a patent we’ve been granted therefore you must be infringed our IP, hence we’ll hit you with a letter which will enable us to send the heavies round, do a shakedown and extort monies…

    A current example of this approach can be seen in the 70+ cases CryptoPeak Solutions have initiated, where the documents being presented to the courts, are laughable in the level of detail they contain – namely, they merely make an accusation of infringement, based on the premise that because the defendant’s websites “utilize Elliptic Curve Cryptography Cipher Suites for the Transport Layer Security protocol” they must be infringing their IP even though this usage is described in a public document that predates their patent. Whilst the patent does define a precise method that might differ from the published standard, CryptoPeak haven’t provided any evidence to indicate that the defendant’s usage is or might be infringing, even though they state “The defendant has committed direct infringement by its actions” which imply that the infringement is obvious and visible to people outside the defendant’s organisation. It is this total lack of precision which suggests this is an attempt to bully rather than an honest attempt to defend their IP.

  3. mike December 17, 2015 9:26 am

    Gene, I don’t think it is legitimate patent owners that are the problem. The non-practicing entities that have been labeled as “patent trolls” use practices that are not the same as a store owner defending his physical property. One tactic is suing all of the end users rather than suing the producer, the one who makes the money. I’ll use printers as one example of this tactic. If a printer uses a patented method, the patent owner should sue Xerox/Ricoh for selling infringing products. Instead they sue 100 end users, typically larger companies, for $10,000 ea. They avoid any court scrutiny by applying a dubious patent across the boards, suing for an amount that is less than attorney’s fees to even respond. This behavior gives hundreds of people a bad impression about patents. This behavior is where the “patent troll” gets it’s name (you have to pay to cross a public bridge). When confronted with invalidating prior art, they simply put their head in the sand and ask for more. They know a company doesn’t want to gamble on an expensive patent infringement case when settling is the cheapest way out.
    Unfortunately, legislature has stepped in where the courts should have mitigated this by ensuring that damages are commensurate with the patented invention. Now we have a case where infringement will be dominant and we will have to wait for the pendulum to swing back the other way.

  4. Anon December 17, 2015 9:33 am

    Cicero,

    Love the moniker. The message though, is TOO sparse.

    Things should be as simple as possible – but NOT more so.

    (A tidbit paraphrase of Einstein)

  5. Michael Skelps December 17, 2015 9:54 am

    The author has framed the problem incorrectly. It’s not that valid, legitimate patents are used to claim a property right. That would be one thing. Instead, vague, overly broad patents are used as weapons against small businesses. The USPTO went through a crisis around the dot-com boom and wound up approving tons of weak patents because they really didn’t know how to handle the patents involving computers. In my case, the patent holder and everyone else knew his patents were paper-thin, but proving that to the courts was expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, this is standard operating procedure for these guys. “You should just settle,” they said, “outside of court. It’ll cost less.” In the end, a quick review by the judge (maybe not so quick — it came in a 26-page single spaced ruling) revealed that these patents were in fact invalid. This was not about property rights. This was about financial intimidation. Some folks might call that extortion.

  6. Gene Quinn December 17, 2015 10:04 am

    Michael Skelps-

    Actually, the author does not frame the problem incorrectly. The author is 100% correct, and has on numerous times, including in this article, acknowledged that there is extortion like activity by bad actors. Perhaps you should actually read the article before you comment!

    Having said that, the point of the article, which you seem to have completely missed, is two-fold. First, it is recklessly bad advice to suggest that anyone who receives a notice or demand letter ignore the letter. At a minimum anyone who receives such a letter should seek competent legal advice from a qualified patent attorney to determine what actions are appropriate. Ignoring a problem is never good advice. It is flat out stupid.

    Second, the patent troll problem is extremely exaggerated. The extortionists have contaminated millions of strong, clear, valid patents. Patents are property rights. Defending property rights does not make you a bully.

    Third, and MOST importantly, to the extent there are bad actors in the industry it has nothing to do with patents. They are abusing the litigation process and preying on your inferior knowledge. That is not a patent problem. That is a litigation and dispute resolution problem. It is asinine to take away valid property rights and turn property owners into villains because it is more convenient and expedient for a few Silicon Valley companies to dismantle the patent system than it would be to fix the problem.

    In the future please read the article before you comment.

    -Gene

  7. A Rational Person December 17, 2015 10:45 am

    Gene@6

    “Having said that, the point of the article, which you seem to have completely missed, is two-fold. First, it is recklessly bad advice to suggest that anyone who receives a notice or demand letter ignore the letter. At a minimum anyone who receives such a letter should seek competent legal advice from a qualified patent attorney to determine what actions are appropriate. Ignoring a problem is never good advice. It is flat out stupid.”

    But if you are a sufficiently large and wealthy company, doesn’t the part of your article quoted below indicate that you are in almost every case safe to ignore the letter:

    “Efficient infringement works because companies know immediately, as Professor Chien points out, that not all those who have patents that are infringed will sue. Of those that sue some will give up along the way because they can’t afford to fight. Of those that fight to the end at least some will lose. Of those that do win some will win very little. Of those that win anything, an even smaller subset will ever collect anything given how the Federal Circuit has so thoroughly changed the law of damages over the last decade. Given the climate and Supreme Court precedent and ever more ways to challenge a patent it is quite likely that many cases will never get past a motion to dismiss. The reality is the infringer has to win once; the patent owner has to win every legal battle.
    With the deck so substantially stacked against the patent owner companies know that if they simply ignore all inquiries, both legitimate and those smaller number that are extortion, they can willfully infringe patented technology without having to pay anything. So why pay? That is efficient infringement; a cold business calculation that results in the patent owner being screwed.”

    I’m not saying this is right or just. I’m only saying that as a matter of reality, this is the case right now.

    This is somewhat similar to the case of what has happened with respect to “hindsight” since the KSR decision. We can argue that “theoretically” an examiner, the PTAB or a court cannot combined two references based on hindsight reasoning, but effectively examiners, the PTAB and the courts are combining references based on hindsight reasoning, often using the the applicant’s application as a roadmap or instruction booklet to put together references that no one in the field of the invention would have ever put together at the time of the invention. I cannot even think of a recent Federal Circuit case in which an obviousness rejection was thrown out based on hindsight reasoning, unless the Applicant could specifically show some type of teaching away.

    This situation is neither right or just, but as the case with the ability of a rich infringer to be able to safely ignore warning letters about patent infringement, I think it is reality.

  8. Edward Heller December 17, 2015 12:01 pm

    PERPS

    Sounds right.

    But both sides in the above debate score points.

    1. Broad, indefinite claims are the reason why so many patents appears to cover whole industries without being pioneering patents.

    2. There are bad actors that use these patents abusively against small entities.

    3. Small entities can afford neither to pay nor to litigate. What to do?

    But on the flip side are large entities who are also PERPS. What is there excuse for ignoring demand letters?

  9. Gene Quinn December 17, 2015 1:16 pm

    Rational Person-

    I think you are right, but lets be careful and separate two different categories of individuals.

    If you are a large entity that doesn’t have your own licensing revenue from your own portfolio then ignoring letters could be a rational choice. What I don’t understand is those companies that have licensing regimes themselves who ignore letters. That level of duplicity is quite interesting.

    If you are not a large entity that is big enough to do whatever you want, perhaps any entity small enough not to be able to have your CEO invited to the White House or play a round of golf with the President, then you absolutely should not ignore demand or notice letters. You should at a minimum get competent legal advice before deciding how to proceed.

    The big problem with Chien’s advice is that small business will read this article and reasonably belief she is telling them that they can just ignore patents. Moreover, if the patent owner actually comes after you then you couldn’t possibly be the problem. It is a patent bully and you are not to blame. That is utter nonsense, and I think highly irresponsible. It is bad legal advice that some will rely on to their own peril.

  10. A Rational Person December 17, 2015 1:19 pm

    Edward@8

    “But on the flip side are large entities who are also PERPS. What is there excuse for ignoring demand letters?”

    There is minimal consequence to ignoring the demand letters.

  11. A Rational Person December 17, 2015 1:47 pm

    Gene@9l

    Your points are well-taken. Furthermore you comments suggest a possible rule of thumb I would propose calling Quinn’s Golf Game with the President Rule for determining whether you can ignore a demand letter, i.e., in determining whether to ignore a demand letter, you need to decide if you could you imagine the CEO of your company playing golf with the President of the United States. Alternatively, we could broaden the rule and call it Quinn’s Invitation to the White House Rule.

    I wish I could say I was not serious about this proposal, but I think you have accurately described how things currently work with respect to who can and who cannot ignore demand letters. Sadly, I think Chien’s article in the WSJ shows just how little she, and probably the current administration of which she was once a part, understands or cares about the real intellectual property issues faced by small companies.

  12. Gene Quinn December 17, 2015 2:51 pm

    Rational Person, Edward-

    Sadly, it is probably a smart business decision for a large corporation without patents of their own to simply ignore and engage in efficient infringement, at least for now. That calculus will change once the Supreme Court reinstates the real threat of treble damages sometime in June when they decide Halo. Unless this Supreme Court is willing to completely sell out and be utterly dishonest, which I understand is always a possibility, treble damages will be back on the table at the discretion of the district court. Willful blindness would have to be a factor a rational district court would consider.

  13. step back December 17, 2015 3:09 pm

    Gene,

    Don’t place your bets on this Supreme Court.

    You are talking about a group that includes throwbacks willing to tell Neil deGrasse Tyson that dark skinned people are too slow at learning and thus cannot become scientists.

    (* Neil deGrasse Tyson is a widely known and highly regarded astrophysicist. He happens, due to a “Myriad” of genetic effects to be dark skinned.)

  14. Gene Quinn December 17, 2015 7:24 pm

    Step-

    Yes, this Supreme Court is going to go down in history as one of the more unenlightened Courts of all time. I think virtually all of their decisions of consequence will be reversed, or at least ignored, by subsequent Courts. They have butchered patent law for sure, but ours is not the only area of law turned on its head. They continue to lose legitimacy with practically every utterance if you ask me.

    -Gene

  15. step back December 17, 2015 10:38 pm

    Problem is, Gene

    They have many an unenlightened but eager followers in the lower echelons:

    Check out Stanacard v. Rubard and the DC judge’s story about how as a youngster she watched Lassie on TV:

    http://patentu.blogspot.com/2015/12/astute-alice-judges-position-their.html

  16. Tim December 18, 2015 12:14 am

    I never realized how corrupt this country has become until I watched the Vringo/Google case unfold. I believe that since Vringo went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the court failed to even look at this injustice, it seems to me that Vringo should sue the US Patent Office for running a Ponzi scheme.

  17. step back December 18, 2015 7:09 am

    Tim,

    Thanks for mentioning Viringo v. Google (the actual name of the case is I/P ENGINE, INC. v. AOL INC.)

    Yes you are right. Isn’t it amazing that anytime a David takes on a Goliath in this country some appellate body finds a way to make sure Goliath wins? In Alice v. CLS Bank one should remember that CLS is/was a big big bank.

    I’d forgotten about that I/P Engine case, but on review and looking at Mayer’s 101 concurrence and Chen’s dissent, yeah that case smells.

    http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/13-1307.Opinion.8-13-2014.1.PDF

  18. Anon December 18, 2015 8:40 am

    I would like to address what amounts to be a major misconception offered by Mike at post 3.

    That is, “One tactic is suing all of the end users rather than suing the producer, the one who makes the money” as some sort of wrongful action.

    Mike,

    Are you aware that patent infringement – under current law – does NOT provide any type of “small entity” pass to infringement?

    Therefore, you start in error and ANY type of “This behavior gives hundreds of people a bad impression about patents. This behavior is where the “patent troll” gets it’s name” smacks merely of (I daresay purposefully misleading) propaganda.

    If you are one of those “hundreds” drinking the kool-aid that “infringement is OK, because of ‘X’,” whatever the flavor of ‘X’ happens to be, then you are part of the problem.

    Of course, this tactic of “gee, the little guy just shouldn’t be found guilty of infringement, because he is ‘just a little guy'” seeks to co-opt the small entity in what amounts to a weakening of the patent system whose biggest benefactor is the opposite of that same ‘little guy.’

  19. A Rational Person December 18, 2015 10:33 am

    step back@17

    Please note, further to my comments above about the fact that courts effectively allow the use of hindsight reasoning to combine references, the term “hindsight” appears nowhere in I/P ENGINE, INC. v. AOL INC. So there is no evidence that the judges in the majority ever considered the fact that their obviousness “finding” might have been based on hindsight reasoning.

  20. A Rational Person December 18, 2015 11:00 am

    Gene@14

    For me, the most troubling Supreme Court decision of my lifetime continues to be Citizens United. It is wrong in so many ways, not the least of which is that made officially legal some forms of bribery of elected officials.

    Some degree of how wrong the Citizens United decision is that all 7 justices of the Montana Supreme Court criticized the decision in the Western Tradition case. Montana is almost certainly one of the most libertarian states in the Union, but even its justices and citizens know that you have to have laws preventing the bribing of elected officials with campaign contributions to have a just and democratic society.

    Justice Nelson’s dissent in Western Tradition is for me one of the most damning and profound criticisms of an unjust Supreme Court decision I have ever read

    http://electionlawblog.org/wp-content/uploads/MT-expenditures-decision.pdf

    “While, as a member of this Court, I am bound to follow Citizens United, I do not
    have to agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. And, to be absolutely clear, I do not agree with it. For starters, the notion that corporations are disadvantaged in the political realm is unbelievable. Indeed, it has astounded most Americans. The truth is that corporations wield inordinate power in Congress and in state legislatures. It is hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins; the transition is seamless and overlapping. In my view, Citizens United has turned the First Amendment’s “open marketplace” of ideas into an auction house for Friedmanian corporatists. Freedom of speech is now synonymous with freedom to spend. Speech equals money; money equals democracy. This decidedly was not the view of the constitutional founders, who favored
    the preeminence of individual interests over those of big business.

    *****

    Lastly, I am compelled to say something about corporate “personhood.” While I
    recognize that this doctrine is firmly entrenched in the law, see Bellotti, 435 U.S. at 780 n. 15, 98 S. Ct. at 1418 n. 15; but see 435 U.S. at 822, 98 S. Ct. at 1439-40 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting), I find the entire concept offensive. Corporations are artificial creatures of law. As such, they should enjoy only those powers—not constitutional rights, but legislatively-conferred powers—that are concomitant with their legitimate function, that being limited-liability investment vehicles for business. Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people—human beings—to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government. Worse still, while corporations and human beings share many of the same rights under the law, they clearly
    are not bound equally to the same codes of good conduct, decency, and morality, and they are not held equally accountable for their sins. Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons.”

  21. Gene Quinn December 18, 2015 11:05 am

    Rational Person-

    I think one of the most troubling lines from this Supreme Court is when Roberts wrote that it is not the job of the Courts to save the American people from their elected officials, which he said in the Obamacare case. Clearly Roberts is unfit for the position because that is EXACTLY the role of the judiciary. He fundamentally doesn’t understand the Constitution or the role of the judiciary, and he seems rather arrogant about his ignorance.

    -Gene

  22. A Rational Person December 18, 2015 11:51 am

    Gene@21

    “I think one of the most troubling lines from this Supreme Court is when Roberts wrote that it is not the job of the Courts to save the American people from their elected officials, which he said in the Obamacare case.”

    Wouldn’t this line of reasoning support the Supreme Court’s Alice and Mayo decisions?

    To me the most troubling part of NFIB v Sebelius was the following:

    “[With respect to the individual], it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s
    power to tax.”

    The individual mandate is not a tax and was specifically argued not to be a tax during the process that led up to the passing of Obamacare.

  23. Robert Tanguay December 19, 2015 1:39 pm

    I can understand how not every complainant filing IP violations is a bully, but I bet the percentage is high. Most intellectual property, if not all, of larger corporations IP is held by IP Holdings companies, that purposely distance themselves from the real IP holders as to not risk business assets against their shady legal practices.

    Your definition of a “Bully” is clearly represented in this case: http://www.roberttanguay.com/legal/verizon-delayed-entrepreneurs-wipo/

    Decision Delayed to Two Young Entrepreneurs Regarding Verizon IP Services and 7 Year Old Website

  24. Gene Quinn December 19, 2015 2:40 pm

    Robert-

    The decision to use IP Holding companies is largely, if not almost exclusively, a tax minimization strategy.

    -Gene

  25. Tama December 20, 2015 3:40 pm

    Gene,

    Very tenuous link to say that this “speaks volumes about how the Executive Branch views patents and patent owners”. It’s the opinion of one professor. She’s wrong of course and your article makes a good job of pointing that out, but it’s intellectually dishonest of you to imply as you do that this is the opinion of the Executive Branch.

    Tama

  26. A Rational Person December 21, 2015 10:28 am

    Tama@25,

    Colleen Chien is not just “one professor”. As Gene’s article pointed out, she is a former senior advisor on intellectual property in the Obama administration. Specficially, “From 2013 to 2015, she served as a senior advisor for intellectual property and innovation to Todd Park, the U.S. chief technology officer, in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).” (From Wikipedia)

    So I don’t think that it is much of a reach to guess she represents the administrations point of view on intellectual property.

  27. Anon December 21, 2015 10:45 am

    Tama,

    In addition to ARP’s response, Gene’s view is buttressed with a large scale involvement in the evolution of Patent Law.

    In speaking as he has, He is no doubt not referencing Mr. Obama in a personal mode, but rather in his role as single point person of the Executive branch, under which the Patent Office belongs.

    There is no intellectual dishonesty in what he says.

  28. Tama December 21, 2015 3:38 pm

    Sorry, but I can’t agree with 26 or 27. Where is an official statement from the administration saying that “small businesses may want to simply ignore letters they receive from patent owners alleging infringement of a patent”?

  29. Anon December 21, 2015 3:41 pm

    Tama,

    To be perfectly blunt, whether you agree or not does not matter. You would be in the same regards as “not agreeing that the earth moves.” Your attempt to make this a direct quote from an official source misses the mark.

  30. A Rational Person December 21, 2015 3:57 pm

    Tama@29

    How the administration “views” things and what they say in a “direct quote” are often too different things.

    For example, some direct quotes from President Obama when he signed the American Invents Act:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/16/president-obama-signs-america-invents-act-overhauling-patent-system-stim

    “I am pleased to sign the America Invents Act. This much-needed reform will speed up the patent process so that innovators and entrepreneurs can turn a new invention into a business as quickly as possible,” said President Obama. “I’m also announcing even more steps today that will help bring these inventions to market faster and create jobs. Here in America, our creativity has always set us apart, and in order to continue to grow our economy, we need to encourage that spirit wherever we find it.”

    The following statements by the President are utter nonsense:

    “This much-needed reform will speed up the patent process so that innovators and entrepreneurs can turn a new invention into a business as quickly as possible,”

    ““I’m also announcing even more steps today that will help bring these inventions to market faster and create jobs.”

    And the following statement implies something that is untrue, i.e., that the AIA encourages small American inventors:

    “Here in America, our creativity has always set us apart, and in order to continue to grow our economy, we need to encourage that spirit wherever we find it.”

  31. step back December 21, 2015 5:44 pm

    Rational Person @30

    I suggest that you are not explaining to Tama and others “why” Obama’s words do not match with his deeds (not vetoing America Invents {no more} Act of 2012) or those of Congress (passing AIA in the 1st place).

    Tama,
    The AIA significantly worsened the situation for American inventors. The US Constitution authorizes Congress to “secure” for inventors the exclusive rights to their inventions. AIA did the opposite. It vastly increased the ways in which American inventors can lose the security they sought by filing for a patent.

    In other words, our government says one thing but does the opposite.

    Happy Holidays to one and all.

  32. Anon December 21, 2015 5:49 pm

    Slightly different – but along the lines of saying one thing (direct quotes) while meaning the opposite can ALSO be said of the present administration (Obama) regarding transparency. He ran on a platform demanding that elected officials be more transparent and has set a modern day record for FOIA refusals and outrights stalls.

    And that is not even including the long running “stall” concerned with “correcting” the “Tr011” propaganda piece, which perhaps not so coincidentally is aligned with yet another anti-patent academic with just too much political connectedness. What are the chances that Ron Katznelson (and all of us) will see a response to the request for correcting the White House paper on “tr011s”….?

  33. A Rational Person December 21, 2015 7:02 pm

    step back@31

    Good point. A contrast between the words and what the AIA actually did:

    The words:

    “This much-needed reform will speed up the patent process so that innovators and entrepreneurs can turn a new invention into a business as quickly as possible.”

    ““I’m also announcing even more steps today that will help bring these inventions to market faster and create jobs.”

    1. The American Invent Act (AIA) was only “needed” by large multinational companies and other patent thieves who wanted it to be even easier to use technology invented and patented by American inventors. It was not “needed” by American inventors.

    2. The bulk of the legislation had nothing to do with speeding up any process at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

    3. By helping make it easier for multinational corporations to invalidate the patents of American inventors using Inter Partes Review at the the Patent Trademark and Appeal Board, otherwise known as “The Killing Fields”, the AIA makes it even easier for larger corporations to steal the patented inventions of American inventors, and in particular, the patented inventions of small American companies.

    4. The major effect on jobs is to destroy potential jobs at American start-ups with patented technology.

    And, in just a few short years, there is evidence that the AIA’s mission of hurting small innovative American companies is well on its way to being accomplished:

    http://patentlyo.com/patent/2015/12/charts-uspto-annual-report.html

    The chart showing the decline in the number of patents issued to U.S. residents, is of course, not conclusive evidence that American inventors are being hurt by the AIA disproportionately to non-American inventors (and the graph does somewhat exaggerate the decline by lopping off the lower part of the bars of the bar graph), but this graph would appear to be consistent with the notion that Inter Partes Review from the AIA along with the Courts rewriting US patent law to prevent software technology and many types of biotechnology from being patented. Because the US is a world leader, at least for now, in the fields of software and biotechnology, American inventors would be expected to disproportionately feel the effects of AIA and the Courts legislating from the bench in patent cases.