Posts Tagged: "Department of Justice"

The New Era of Antitrust Law and Policy in Standards: Embracing Evidence Based Policy-making

On November 10, 2017, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) new top antitrust enforcer, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Makan Delrahim, delivered a powerful speech on antitrust law and policy enforcement towards intellectual property rights (IPRs). Former USPTO Director David Kappos described it as “the most important DOJ antitrust speech on IP during my decades practicing law”. … The speech clarifies that the new AAG views “any policy proposals with one-sided focus on hold-up with great skepticism because they pose a serious threat on the innovating process,” and submits that antitrust law should not be misused to police the private commitments such as FRAND that IP holders make to SSOs. In this, the speech agrees with the view shared by several scholars that FRAND commitments are contracts and a potential breach of those commitments may not be best suited under the purview of antitrust law and that “there are perfectly adequate and more appropriate common law and statutory remedies available to the SSO or its members”.

Why is the government suspicious of patent owners who don’t want to vertically integrate?

Why does U.S. policy with respect to patent owners and patent licensing seem to be in direct opposition to U.S. antitrust policy relating to vertical mergers? If vertical mergers are anticompetitive and particularly bad when dealing with a monopolist then why are patent owners, who we are told over and over again are in possession of a limited monopoly, encouraged (if not demanded) to vertically integrate in order to escape characterization as a patent troll?

Federal Gag Orders Likely to Change

There is often a tension between the needs of law enforcement and the companies that collect and store the electronic data of individuals. Law enforcement may seek this data from the companies through subpoenas, search warrants, and other court orders as part of its investigation and request that the companies did not disclose their interaction with authorities to maintain the confidentiality of the investigation. In contrast, companies may wish, or be obligated under the terms of their agreements or privacy policies, to disclose to their customers that they have produced the customers’ electronic data to law enforcement pursuant to legal process. To prevent the companies from doing so, federal law enforcement typically obtains a non-disclosure order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b) from a federal magistrate court. These orders have generally not had a definite expiration date. However, companies have recently begun to challenge the limits and scope of such orders. The recent case of Microsoft Corp. v. United States Dep’t of Justice, No. C16-0538 JLR, represents the most serious challenge to date.

FTC and DOJ Antitrust Division Seek Comment on Proposed Update to IP Licensing Guidelines

The IP Licensing Guidelines, which state the agencies’ antitrust enforcement policy with respect to the licensing of intellectual property protected by patent, copyright, and trade secret law and of know-how, were issued in 1995 and are now being updated. In the agencies’ view, the IP Licensing Guidelines remain soundly grounded, as a matter of antitrust law and economics. Nevertheless, the agencies have determined that some revisions are in order because the IP Licensing Guidelines should accurately reflect intervening changes in statutory and case law.

Senators told FTC report on patent assertion entities due out this spring

When patents were brought up in the hearing, however, it seemed to focus mainly on their effects in the pharmaceutical world. Ramirez’s prepared remarks for the hearing touched on pay for delay in pharmaceutical patent infringement settlements, and she noted that the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis has given the FTC a greater capacity to challenge pay for delay schemes in court. Ramirez also stated that a report on the FTC investigation into patent assertion entities (PAEs) will be made available sometime this spring.

Kim Dotcom extradition case highlights de facto SOPA, PIPA rules

New Zealand Judge Nevin Dawson handed down a ruling that would allow the United States to move forward with the extradition of Kim Dotcom, the founder of the former Megaupload.com, one of the world’s most popular file sharing websites at the height of its power. Kim and others involved with Megaupload have been sought under counts of criminal copyright infringement, racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering as well as aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement. The original indictment, filed by the Department of Justice in the Eastern District Court of Virginia back in January 2012, alleged that Kim and other defendants were responsible for $500 million in harm to copyright holders.

IEEE policy arbitrarily reduces protection given to Wi-Fi-related patents

The IEEE’s new policy will arbitrarily reduce the level of protection given to Wi-Fi-related patents, impose unconstitutional limits on patent rights, and end the traditional market-based negotiation process for these patents by imposing what amounts to de facto compulsory licensing. Companies that spent many years and billions of dollars in R&D to develop Wi-Fi and other technologies could find themselves unable to recoup their investments.

Ranbaxy Fined, J&J Tylenol Scandal, Bayer Sued Over Vitamins

Once again, a plethora of interesting events has occurred since the last time we stopped by. What was the biggest headline? That decision may be up for grabs, but certainly, the $500 million penalty paid by Ranbaxy Laboratories is high on the list. In other news, yet another Johnson & Johnson manufacturing scandal has erupted, this time in South Korea, where the authorities plan to bring criminal charges against its Janssen unit and ban production of five products – notably, a type of Children’s Tylenol. A non-profit group put Bayer on notice that a lawsuit will be filed charging the drugmaker with making “unsubstantiated and illegal claims” about the ability of its One-A-Day vitamin to prevent various disease, such as breast cancer, bolster physical energy and improve immunity, among other things.

DOJ Says IP Exchange Licensing Model is Pro-Innovation

IPXI is the first financial exchange that facilitates non-exclusive licensing and trading of intellectual property rights with market-based pricing and standardized terms. Earlier this week word came from the Intellectual Property Exchange International Inc. (IPXI) that the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division issued its Business Review Letter (BRL) upon the culmination of its eight-month review. The DOJ believes that the IP Exchange business model proposed by IPXI is capable of producing market efficiencies in the patent licensing arena and is likely to be pro-innovation. Although no permission is required of the DOJ before IPXI opens its exchange, having this review of the DOJ Antitrust Division complete has to make IPXI and Exchange participants much more at ease as the move closer toward their attempt to revolutionize IP licensing.

DOJ: Patent Licenses Should Discharge in Bankruptcy

The dispute at issue here regarding Qimonda arose when the company went bankrupt and seven licensees invoked the protection of § 365(n) to retain patent rights. This became an issue because there is no similar provision on German law, thus there is an attempt to nullify the patent licenses. This would force the seven licensees to open fresh negotiations or face expensive patent infringement litigation which they could not hope to prevail in since they are almost certainly infringing.

FTC, DOJ to Hold Workshop on Patent Assertion Entity Activities

This workshop will examine the economic and legal implications of patent assertion entity (PAE) activity, as distinct from prototypical “non-practicing entity” (NPE) activity, such as developing and transferring technology. By contrast, PAE activities often include purchasing patents from existing owners and seeking to maximize revenues by licensing the intellectual property to (or litigating against) manufacturers who are already using the patented technology.

South Korean Company Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets

Yesterday, Kolon Industries Inc. and several of its executives and employees were indicted for allegedly engaging in a multi-year campaign to steal trade secrets related to DuPont’s Kevlar para-aramid fiber and Teijin Limited’s Twaron para-aramid fiber. The conspiracy and theft of trade secrets counts each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for individual defendants and a fine of $5 million or twice the gross gain or loss for the corporate defendant. The obstruction of justice count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for individual defendants and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for the corporate defendant.

Bobbing for Antitrust Apples: E-book Price Fixing Challenge

So what did Apple and the other publishers do that put them on Uncle Sam’s Radar? Allegedly, they agreed among themselves to sell their e-books at the same price. This is also known as “Price Fixing” and it’s a big no-no. When companies who sell the same product agree among themselves to set the same price for that product, they could (not necessarily will) set that price as high as they wish, because there will be no place cheaper to get it. The type of price fixing alleged here – ‘horizontal’ price fixing – is considered violative of the Sherman Act regardless of the effect on the market. This means that even if the agreement didn’t actually harm the market whatsoever, it would still be considered anti-competitive.

Google Legal Team is Top Legal Department for 2011

I don’t doubt that the Google Legal Team is an excellent department, and undoubtedly praiseworthy. It is also correct to say that they are dealing on nearly a daily basis with cutting edge issues that relate to the use of intellectual property in a still young medium — the Internet. It is also true to observe that they have had to deal with antitrust matters, patent litigations, copyright and trademark matters, not to mention the undoubtedly countless private matters that we haven’t yet learned about and many we won’t ever learn about. Nevertheless, I wonder whether there is a premature victory lap or recognition that is just slightly ahead of accomplishment. Certainly if Google scores a final victory in the Rosetta Stone appeal on trademarks (more below) and can resurrect the book settlement (more below) that would go a long way to justifying this award, I just wonder whether it might be a year ahead of schedule and a bit akin to President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize after only a few months in Office.

Top 10 Patent, Innovation & IP Events of 2010

At this time of the year all typically sit back and reflect on the year that has been, spend time with family and friends, watch some football and set a course to follow into the new year. So here are the top 10 events that shaped the patent, innovation and intellectual property industry during 2010 — at least according to me, and with a heavy patent emphasis. What did you expect?