Posts Tagged: "PAE"

Understanding the valuable role played by Patent Trolls

The U.S. economy is full of intermediaries everywhere you look. But for some reason we have demonized the intermediaries in the market for innovation. Think of it this way. Most people buy their groceries at a grocery story. That grocery store does not grow any of the vegetables, raise the meat, nor catch the fish. It is simply an intermediary. Now I can see why from the point of view of a manufacturer the PAE may be a nuisance. But from the inventor’s point of view the PAE is a valuable intermediary.

Professors Urge Caution on Patent Reform

Earlier today 40 economists and law professors wrote to Senate and House Judiciary leaders explaining that the data it that keeps being cited to justify HR 9, otherwise known as the Innovation Act, is “flawed, unreliable and incomplete.” The professors caution Congress to proceed cautiously, particularly given the numerous misleading and flawed studies that “highly exaggerated claims regarding patent trolls.”

The Innovation Act Will Harm Income, Employment, and Economic Growth

The legal costs of the IP system should be measured against the value of intellectual capital in the U.S. economy, estimated in a study by Kevin Hassett and Robert Shapiro to equal between $8.1 trillion to $9.2 trillion… Weakening the US patent system harms economic prospects for middle income earners because it will stifle innovation, discourage patenting, reduce private investments in new technologies protected by patents, slow economic growth, increase unemployment, and harm consumers. The proposed reforms will reduce prospects for economic advancement for middle income earners because they damage entrepreneurship and small business and favor large incumbent firms over inventors and innovators.

Flawed survey erroneously concludes patent licensing does not contribute to innovation

There are a variety of problems with this paper, the conclusions reached and the methodology. Perhaps the largest problem is that Professors Feldman and Lemley rely on subjective evidence rather than volumes of objective evidence that contradict the self-serving responses from those who are licensing rights they are already infringing. What else would you suspect from a homogenous subset of individuals who collectively don’t like the patent system very much? Collective bias seems a far more likely answer as to why there is “near unanimity,” as the Professors claim. Even so, how is it possible that any group could ever achieve near unanimity about anything? The fact that there was near unanimity demands one to question whether there is a bias or flaw in the survey, yet no such inquiry seems to have been made.

Demonizing monetizers undermines the patent system

Phil Hartstein is the President and CEO of Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNJN)… On January 6, 2015, I interviewed Hartstein, which appears below. We had a wide ranging and lively discussion about the current state of the patent market, how the pejorative use of the term “patent troll” does nothing but attempt to denigrate innovators as second-class patent owners simply because they don’t manufacture, efforts to promote ethical licensing standards, and patent reform.

FTC Testifies on Legislation to Prohibit Deceptive Patent Demand Letters

The Federal Trade Commission testified on consumer protection issues involving patent demand letters, patent assertion entities (PAEs), and proposed legislation to prohibit deceptive patent demand letters. Delivering testimony before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Lois Greisman, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices at the Federal Trade Commission, provided lawmakers with comments on a draft bill regarding deceptive patent demand letters, and recognized that demand letters raise broader issues about patents and the U.S. patent system.

FTC Seeks OMB Permission for Patent Assertion Entity Study

FTC says that it considered and implemented many of these suggestions it did receive in order to sharpen the focus of the study and reduce its likely burden on study respondents. Frankly, I see little evidence that the burden on the responding PAEs has been reduced to anything that approximates a reasonable level. The information that the FTC will seek from 25 different PAEs is extraordinarily detailed and it will be onerous to produce, if it can even be produced… The questions seek detailed information about each patent owned by the PAE. In one case a seemingly simple question asks the PAE to for every patent they own identify the patent’s “priority date,” which is a term not defined in the Notice. Asking this question in and of itself presents an objectionable burden in my opinion.

Proactively Defending Against Patent Lawsuits

By keeping an eye on stealth and dangerous patents managing the future risk presented is much easier. By proactively monitoring the landscape of published applications and granted patents you may be able to engage in design work-arounds to avoid the most dangerous patents. You may also be able to actively identify patents and pending patent application that are ripe for licensing or acquisition at an early stage, perhaps before the patent even issues or before the patent works its way into the hands of a litigious patent owner. Even if you cannot acquire rights through licensing or acquire all dangerous patents, if you have a meaningful patent footprint that gives you the right to do a variety of things you may well be able to defend based upon having broad based rights to engage in what it is that you are accused of doing.

Obama on Patents: The One-sided USPTO Patent Litigation Beta

It is almost incomprehensible that the Patent Office would put together a litigation resource that ignores the reality that many companies, both large and small, trample on the rights of innovators who have spent large amounts of time, money and energy receive a patent and disclosing their innovation to the world. . . the Patent Office only offers a one-sided help section that gives advice to infringers and sets a tone that comes across as anti-patent and anti-patent owner. This strikes me as fundamentally misguided and clearly demonstrates the anti-patent bias of the Obama Administration. . . I would expect the federal government — the Patent Office that is charged with an important Constitutional duty — to be even handed and empathetic to innovators and patent owners as well.

Why NPEs Lose Less Often in Court Than Operating Companies

I propose that if any comparison is made at all, we should look at patentee loss statistics. Patentee loss statistics are much more likely to allow a comparison between monetizing companies and operating companies, and the cases they bring. Why is this? Two reasons. First, imminent patentee merits victories will get vacuumed into the settlement category… And second, trial and patentee-initiated summary judgment proceedings are a tiny statistical blip. It turns out that in terms of quantity, there are about ten times more defense merits wins than patentee merits wins among all cases that get litigated and do not settle. The explanation for this is simple – a patentee does not have to “win” to succeed – it only has to settle on monetary terms that it can convince an opponent to give.

FTC Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed Patent Assertion Entity Study

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the deadline for public comments on its proposed study of patent assertion entities (PAEs), which it announced on September 27. To provide additional time for interested parties to submit comments on the proposed study, the deadline has been extended throughDecember 16, 2013. The Commission will not consider requests for further extension. Comments can be submitted electronically.

Law Schools Join App Developers Alliance to Fight Patent Trolls

The App Developers Alliance is joining with law schools nationwide to help startups battle patent trolls. The Law School Patent Troll Defense Network is a consortium of law school clinics that will provide free legal representation to small app developers and other entrepreneurs that have been threatened or sued by patent trolls. Clinics participating in the Network may also represent the Alliance in major patent cases affecting developers and the app community.

Call for Information: Study on Patent Assertion Entities

I recently received an e-mail from a colleague who is embarking on an interesting research project. This colleague, who would like to remain publicly anonymous for the time being so as to be able to conduct the underlying research privately and without influence. The researcher is seeking to interview a number of different industry participants for a research study on patent assertion entities.

FTC to Examine Patent Assertion Entity Impact on Innovation

With the FTC taking this step now I don’t know how Congress can move forward with patent reform legislation that purports to address the so-called patent troll problem. Perhaps they will move forward, but at a time when the Congress has so many issues to deal with is patent reform prior to yet another in-depth government report really where times should be spent? As of the writing of this article we do not have a budget for FY 2014, or even a continuing resolution and the debt ceiling debate looms in the backdrop. Perhaps Congress and the FTC should be spending time fixing other problems rather than tinkering with an issue the GAO says doesn’t need to be fixed.

Patent Assertion and US Innovation

Obama’s action plan was heavily influenced by a report, “Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation,” which was released by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Science & Technology Policy. The full text of the report can be read here. It is surprising that a report that was prepared by such an august and high-level set of entities could be so blatantly biased and one-sided. The body of the report slams PAEs and points to everything that’s bad about them. It creates an artificial distinction by referring to “good” patent middlemen as “patent intermediaries,” although there is no indication in the report of what are the characteristics of a good “patent intermediary” versus an evil PAE.