Posts Tagged: "Department of Justice"

Analyzing Judge Koh’s Errors in FTC v. Qualcomm: Highlights From Three Amicus Briefs

On August 30, a number of amicus briefs were filed in the FTC v. Qualcomm appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appeal stems from a May 2019 order finding Qualcomm liable for anticompetitive behavior and issuing “sweeping” injunctive relief. Following Judge Koh’s ruling, her opinion has been called “disastrous,” an “utter failure,” and “based on scant evidence,” and further been accused of “mangling” antitrust law. The Ninth Circuit, in granting a partial stay of the injunction, noted there were “serious questions on the merits” of Judge Koh’s decision. Three of the amicus briefs in particular point out the errors in Judge Koh’s opinions that have given rise to these “serious questions.” Retired Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel filed an amicus brief focusing primarily on patent law issues, including the smallest salable patent-practicing unit (SSPPU) concept and reasonable royalty calculation. The International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) and Scholars of Law and Economics filed an amicus brief arguing that Judge Koh’s decision “is disconnected from the underlying economics of the case” and will cause serious harm to antitrust law. Finally, a number of Antitrust and Patent Law Professors, Economists, and Scholars filed an amicus brief highlighting how antitrust overreach, as they allege is present here, will harm innovation and arguing that the district court failed to engage in the level of real-world economic analysis as is required by this case.

FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson Tells Patent Masters Attendees FTC v. Qualcomm Decision ‘Scares Me’

Commissioner Christine Wilson of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) addressed the IPWatchdog Patent Masters Symposium on Tuesday, September 10, emphasizing three main points in her keynote: that Judge Lucy Koh’s decision in FTC v. Qualcomm was flawed, that antitrust analyses should be more focused on dynamic, rather than static effects, and that, despite the latter point, antitrust authorities routinely try and fail to integrate dynamic effects into antitrust law. She was clear up front that her views did not necessarily match those of her fellow commissioners. First, Wilson reiterated the ideas expressed in her May 28 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, which she summarized by saying that U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh’s opinion in the FTC v. Qualcomm case “creates bad law and bad policy.” Wilson explained that Koh in her lengthy analysis took the opportunity to “radically expand a company’s legal obligation to help its competitors” by reviving a “discredited” 1985 Supreme Court case, Aspen Skiing Co. v. Aspen Highlands Skiing Corp. “My opposition to the court’s opinion does not stem from any desire to help or protect Qualcomm,” Wilson said. “I am focused on applying and preserving sound antitrust principles and this decision scares me.”

Other Barks & Bites, Friday August 30: CAFC Dismisses Appeals of PTAB Institution Denials, Levandowski Indicted on Trade Secrets Theft

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the PTAB institutes IPRs despite arguments that the Chinese government was an unnamed real party-in-interest; the Federal Circuit dismisses appeals of PTAB decisions denying institution on three IPRs; USPTO seeks public comments on examination guidance for artificial intelligence inventions, announces a public hearing on proposed trademark fee adjustments, and is facing backlash for seeking proof of citizenship for trademark applications; Tesla avoids a 10% tax on auto sales in China; the Department of Defense gets closer to establishing an IP protection team; former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski is charged with trade secret theft; trademark protection cases in Dubai have risen 63%; the Copyright Royalty Board announces an intent to audit Sirius XM Radio; and Amazon’s Audible faces copyright infringement suit over text captioning feature.

Ninth Circuit Told They Should Stay Judge Koh’s Qualcomm Injunction

On July 15, retired Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel filed an amicus brief in Qualcomm’s appeal of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) antitrust case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The following day, the United States government filed a statement of interest with the appellate court as well. Both parties filed in support of Qualcomm’s request for a partial stay of an injunction handed down this May in the Northern District of California, which requires Qualcomm to license its standard essential patents (SEPs) to modem-chip suppliers after determining that the company’s “no license, no chips” policy violated U.S. antitrust law.

The FTC’s Qualcomm Case Reveals Concerning Divide with DOJ on Patent Hold-Up

On May 2, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) took the unusual step of submitting a Statement of Interest in the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) case against Qualcomm to take a position contrary to the FTC. The DOJ argued that “[b]ecause an overly broad remedy could result in reduced innovation, with the potential to harm American consumers, this Court should hold a hearing and order additional briefing to determine a proper remedy that protects competition while working minimal harm to public and private interests.” In response, the FTC informed the court that it “did not participate in or request” the DOJ’s filing, that it “disagree[d] with a number of contentions” made by the DOJ, and that the DOJ “misconstrues applicable law and the record.” In the end, the court agreed with the FTC and issued injunctive relief against Qualcomm without conducting the further remedy proceedings the DOJ advocated. The public feuding between the two federal antitrust enforcement agencies about how to resolve a case litigated by one them was a remarkable spectacle. It also brought into focus a broader divide between the FTC and DOJ on the role of antitrust law in addressing patents that are essential to industry standards (SEPs) and subject to commitments to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday June 21: China Releases National IP Strategy, Iancu Discusses Patent Eligibility, and Rubio Amendment Would Prevent Huawei Patent Suits

This week in Other Barks & Bites: Senators Tillis and Coons ask federal agencies to step up enforcement against IP theft; Senator Stabenow and Congressman Cummings ask GAO to review government’s drug patent authority; USPTO Director Iancu says that Congress will have to fix patent eligibility problems; China releases a new national IP strategy after the U.S. halts IP theft proceedings at the WTO; Adidas loses European trademark for three-stripe logo; VidAngel ordered to pay more than $60 million over copyright infringement; music lyric site Genius accuses Google of ripping content for its own platform; and Apple asks the United States Trade Representative to rescind tariffs that would affect consumer tech goods.

Up and Running: Senate IP Subcommittee Debates USPTO Oversight After Setting Ambitious Agenda in February

Today, March 13, the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property met to discuss “Oversight of the United States Patent and Trademark Office,” with USPTO Director Andrei Iancu as the sole witness. IPWatchdog will report the details of that hearing in full, but in the meantime it is worth reviewing what the Subcommittee covered in its first hearing, held February 26, which included the report of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) on the findings of the IPEC’s Annual Intellectual Property Report. While the hearing was nominally about the IPEC report, comments made and questions raised by Subcommittee members throughout the course of the hearing made it clear that the Subcommittee intends to play an important role in the debate around IP and patent law during the 116th Congress.

Other Barks & Bites: IP News to Watch, February 1, 2019

This week in Other Barks & Bites: Huawei is in hot water with both the U.S. and UK governments, while Qualcomm has just completed a new patent licensing deal with Huawei; IBM tops a new global list for most artificial intelligence-related patent applications filed; Apple files another appeal of a major patent infringement damages award handed to VirnetX in the Eastern District of Texas; and see how the biggest IP players are doing Wall Street.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Connected to World Patent Marketing Fraudulent Scheme to Bilk Inventors

In May 2018, Scott Cooper and his companies, World Patent Marketing Inc. and Desa Industries Inc., agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that bans them from the invention promotion business, and ordered payment of $25,987,192. The FTC charged World Patent Marketing with being nothing more than a scam, bilking millions of dollars from inventors. “The record supports a preliminary finding that Defendants devised a fraudulent scheme to use consumer funds to enrich themselves,” concluded United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles as he issued a preliminary injunction in August 2017. Matthew G. Whitaker, the Acting Attorney General of the United States who ascended to the position with the resignation of Jeff Sessions, served on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing. Worse, Whitaker was involved in some of the egregious intimidation that led to the charges, issuance of an injunction and ultimately the settlement.

Order of the New Day: IP Rights in Dynamic Competition

Missing for a while at the U.S. competition agencies has been an appreciation for how competition works in the real world — in particular, discounting the vital part intellectual property plays in sparking new competition and growing the economic pie. It can be easy to lock in a static view of the economic world.  Or misdefine “competition,” as Robert Bork noted in The Antitrust Paradox.  Fortunately, things are looking up. The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is now led by someone steeped both in antitrust and innovation.  This breath of fresh air is supplied by U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim.

DOJ Antitrust Chief Raises Standard Setting Concerns

Increasingly, Delrahim’s speeches are moving past where he began in his USC speech in November 2017, discussing this being the appropriate time to now have a discussion about the proper role antitrust enforcement plays with respect to standard setting, to his LeadershIP April 2018 speech where he explained the Antitrust Division will not hesitate to enforce against collusive anticompetitive conduct detrimental to patent owners. Furthermore, Delrahim has now several times discussed his view that in a free market, competition based economy the remedy for patent owners violating obligations to SSOs is a contractual remedy, not an antitrust remedy.

Apply Evidence-based Approach to Antitrust Law Equally to Innovators and Implementers

As judges, former judges and government officials, legal academics and economists who are experts in antitrust and intellectual property law, we write to express our support for your recent announcement that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice will adopt an evidence-based approach in applying antitrust law equally to both innovators who develop and implementers who use technological standards in the innovation industries. We disagree with the letter recently submitted to you on January 24, 2018 by other parties who expressed their misgivings with your announcement of your plan to return to this sound antitrust policy.

Why is the Trump DOJ arguing patents are a public right?

It is no surprise to anyone that patent rights in the United States suffered enormously under the two terms served in the White House by President Barack Obama. That the Obama White House was uncomfortably close with Google is widely known, and Google has been the face and driving force of the lobby that supports weakening patent rights in America. What is far less clear, and extremely difficult to explain or understand, is why the Department of Justice continues to make arguments against patents. Indeed, in the DOJ brief filed in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy, the Solicitor General argues repeatedly throughout the brief that patents are not private property, but rather are a public right… At the very beginning of the brief filed by the DOJ in Oil States, in the Summary of the Argument, the DOJ stakes its claim and beings by arguing that patents are a public right (not private property) that is akin to a government-conferred franchise.

Getting Ahead of ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits

The lack of regulations here has led to the absolute worst-case scenario. People with disabilities have not been served since most companies are unaware this is an issue. Most don’t even realize this is something they have to consider until they receive a demand letter. That has certainly been the case for some of my clients. This leads to a scramble to get compliant. Unfortunately, it can take up to a year to do so depending on the complexity of the site. Meanwhile, plaintiffs’ attorneys across the country are taking advantage of the confusion. More than 260 website accessibility lawsuits were filed in 2016, and significantly more were filed by the end of 2017. But these numbers do not even begin to cover the cases that are settled pre-litigation.

What Mattered in 2017: Industry Insiders Reflect Biggest Moments in IP

Unlike previous years where we had near unanimity on the biggest moments, this year we see wide variety of thought, from SCOTUS to Capitol Hill to the DOJ… Steve Kunin focus primarily on the Supreme Court patent cases, which Bob Stoll also mentions but then goes on to discuss the lack of momentum for more patent reform and the nomination of a new Director for the USPTO as key moments. Paul Morinville also mentions the political on Capitol Hill, but focuses on Members of Congress not buying into the patent troll narrative like they once did. Erik Oliver focuses on a rebound in the patent market, Alden Abbott sees a pro-innovation, pro-patent Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust as a dramatic shift for the DOJ. Ben Natter, Jess Sblendorio and Alexander Callo focus on the Supreme Court’s decision in Matal v. Tam, which declared the prohibition against registering disparaging trademarks unconstitutional.