House IP Subcommittee holds yet another one-sided hearing on bad patents and patent trolls
House IP subcommittee chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) led off the hearing by discussing the large number of interests who are often on Capitol Hill to discuss their issues with “patent trolls,” including the “genius ones” which have only been developed in recent years. Despite the intent of the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 to weed bad patents out of the system, “patent trolls” remain active. Issa felt there were a few reasons for this, including the fact that such entities make money and that good patents could still be used to assert unreasonable claims. “Why innovate when it’s far easier and more profitable to simply purchase a patent, acquire one, acquire the rights to a patent, perhaps one that has never been licensed, bully businesses into writing a check, go away without ever seriously litigating,” Issa said. He said that 80 percent of “patent troll” litigation focuses on small business. “Simply put, we should not confuse ‘Making America Great Again’ with ‘Making American Patent Trolls Richer Again,’” Issa said. Although Issa was pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on patent venue in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, he recoiled at what he felt was an “overreach” by Judge Rodney Gilstrap from the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.); Issa felt that Gilstrap misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland by denying a motion to transfer venue from E.D. Tex. in Raytheon v. Cray. “It is, in fact, an act that I find reprehensible by that judge,” Issa said.