Posts Tagged: "patent assertion entities"

Limiting the Impact of Patent Assertion Entities on the Open Source Community

There has been a great deal of discussion over the years regarding patent trolls, also known as non-practicing entities (NPEs) and Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). As most of the IP world knows, these organizations, either alone or in partnership with an inventor, look to leverage a patent or a portfolio in order to seek financial return from companies allegedly utilizing the technology. On the other side are organizations that have in many cases advanced and refined the base technology and created products therefrom who are seeking a way out of potentially high litigation costs by working to determine the need to potentially license the patent/portfolio or to fight patent infringement claims if the PAE has moved beyond assertion to litigation.

IBM, Toyota Join LOT Network, Underscoring Rapid Growth for the Patent Risk Management Consortium

Information technology giant IBM recently announced that it had agreed to join the LOT Network, a nonprofit patent risk management consortium designed to immunize its members from lawsuits filed by patent assertion entities (PAEs). The move brings an additional 80,000 patents and patent application under the aegis of the LOT Network, which currently offers its members immunity to 2.3 million global patent assets should those patents ever be sold to companies that make more than half of their gross revenue from patent assertions. Since the IBM announcement last week, LOT Network has added a few new members, including Japanese carmaker Toyota, which just announced today that it has agreed to join the consortium. Since we last covered LOT Network in August 2018, the organization has more than doubled in size from about 275 companies up to 623 companies. Since it was founded in 2014, LOT Network’s membership has increased by a compound annual growth rate of 115%.

Patent Assertion Entities Invest Twice as Much in R&D as Major U.S. Tech Firms

Rather than frustrate innovation, Maurer and Haber found that patent assertion entities have research and development expenditures which, on average, are twice that of U.S. high tech firms… Public PAEs do not appear to operate in a manner consistent with the hypothesis on patent trolls, which includes the view that PAEs own patents which have no value and that they file frivolous lawsuits that amounts to a tax on innovation.

Patent Encumbrances Can Reduce Market Value up to 100 Percent

Patent broker Brad Close notes that encumbrances can have the effect of reducing a patent’s value by up to 100 percent, practically rendering a patent valueless on the market. “If the only companies which are potential targets for a license are already licensed, then the intellectual property is essentially worthless,” Close said. “If a startup is considering entering into an agreement that would place an encumbrance upon a patent, I would advise them to be very sure that what they’re receiving in return offers adequate value and to take into consideration both their investors and the future of the business,” Close said.

Facebook patent infringement suit against BlackBerry looks remarkably patent troll-like

Facebook is asserting a series of patents the company has acquired from other firms, making its actions similar to those of non-practicing entities (NPEs) and remarkably patent troll-like. After all, we have been told time and time again by those who have advocated for patent reform and a systematic dismantling of the patent system that a telltale sign of a truly bad actor like a patent troll is that the patents were not the subject of homegrown innovation, but were rather acquired from true innovators and then used to sue others. That, however, is precisely what Facebook is doing here. 

LOT Network surpasses 275 members, fighting PAE patent litigation

LOT Network markets itself as a non-profit consortium, which offers its members a legal mechanism affording them protection from patent assertion entities (PAEs) and immunizes its members against patent suits from non-operating entities for about 1.2 million worldwide patent assets currently owned by LOT members… The LOT Network conditional license only applies to patents that are in network at the time that a firm joins the consortium. If a business joins LOT after a LOT member sells a patent, previous LOT members are protected by the conditional license whereas the new member still faces the potential of an infringement suit down the road on that patent.

More Dreck on Patent Trolls from Attorneys Cozying Up to Silicon Valley

Principe and Rudroff unfortunately regurgitate much of the misguided dialogue, which has done nothing to serve this country except to decimate its patent system in recent years. In the view of the authors, patent trolls, or patent assertion entities (PAEs) (which the authors note is the less pejorative term), provide no market value and often enforce software or business method patents which have questionable validity. Of course, it is worth noting that in its 2016 study on PAEs, the Obama Federal Trade Commission called the term “patent troll” both unhelpful and prejudicial, and also specifically recognized that PAEs can and do play a valuable role in the market. So the conclusions of Principe and Rudroff are not supported by even an FTC study commissioned for the purpose of condemning patent trolls. 

Is Brookings Pushing an Efficient Infringer Narrative with Biased Panel Discussion?

Unfortunately, there’s every indication that today’s event at Brookings will feature more of the same kind of misguided rhetoric on perceived issues with the patent system which don’t truly exist. The evidence for this starts with the moderator for the day’s final roundtable discussion, titled Realigning Incentives to Increase Patent Quality. The moderator for this discussion will be Tim Lee, senior reporter of tech policy for Ars Technica. Lee has written in the past on the effects of “ridiculous patent litigation” and has given space to viewpoints which want to limit patentability in certain sectors, such as in business methods. Lee has also been very critical of appellate court decisions in patent cases in recent years to the point that assertions he’s made on case law regarding the patentability of software inventions border on the ridiculously absurd. This individual, who has a clearly anti-patent viewpoint, will be controlling the discussion during the final panel roundtable on patent policy.

Patent ‘gold rush’ to blame for patent sharks, patent trolls

Patent trolls – as well as calls for changes to the law to prevent them – date back to at least the 1800’s. A look at their history suggests that they have more to do with fluidity in the definition of patentable subject matter than any unique feature of a particular class of inventions… A change in a fundamental definition of what comprised patentable subject matter, and that change brought a major building block of commerce into the ambit of the patent system. In the age of the sharks, the farm remained the core of the U.S. economy, driving a gold rush of new patents covering every element of the farming process. Such a rush also encourages the formation of patent thickets, as speculators scramble for any potentially protectable chunk of the market. The same phenomenon drove the development of modern tech and software patents. In the aftermath of State Street, once again the market found that the machinery that undergirded the economy was suddenly open to being patented, leading to a similar gold rush.

MA State Senator Eric Lesser makes push towards reform on bad faith patent assertions

The HuffPost recently published a piece authored by Massachusetts State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D), which is titled Patent Trolls Are Trolling Startups In Massachusetts – And We Need To Change That. The piece attempts to engage readers by taking a situation from the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley and apply it to real world business activities currently ongoing within the state of Massachusetts. However, critical analysis of Lesser’s article indicates glaring flaws with his logic in a way that makes it look like Lesser is more interested in following a false narrative in service to patent infringing interests than he is in supporting Constitutionally-protected property rights.

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.

Myths about patent trolls prevent honest discussion about U.S. patent system

A $1 trillion a year industry not wanting to pay innovators less than a 1% royalty on the innovations they appropriate (i.e., steal) for their own profits seems like a terrible price to pay given the national security and economic consequences of forfeiting our world leadership to the Europeans and Chinese… Google and Uber are locked in a patent battle over self-driving automobiles, so does that make Google or Uber a patent troll? What about General Electric, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Whirlpool, Kraft Foods, Caterpillar, Seiko Epson, Amgen, Bayer, Genzyme, Sanofi-Aventis, and Honeywell, to name just a few?

Former Cisco Executive Giancarlo peels back ‘false narrative’ on patent trolls, patent reform

The true agenda of those who support further reform of the U.S. patent system is as follows: to discriminate against entities which license technologies instead of manufacture; to increase the costs of asserting patent rights to the detriment of individuals and startups; and to stilt the conversations surrounding tech licensing in favor of the infringer bringing a product to market. “If you trip over our patent, you’re a thief. If we trip over your patent, you’re a troll,” Giancarlo said… “Let’s call patent reform for what it is: a blatant economic and power grab by tech firms to infringe on technology created by others,” Giancarlo said. In his opinion, the true trolls are the entities trolling Congress to get a competitive advantage over smaller entities.

FTC acting chair Ohlhausen tells ABA IP conference agency revised IP guidelines are ‘modest’, give FTC flexibility

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will not be radically changing the analysis used to address antitrust issues presented by patent law issues. The news stems from comments made by FTC acting chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen at the 32nd Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA). Ohlhausen would go on to explain that the recent updates to the IP Licensing Guidelines, which occurred in January 2017, were “modest”, provided the FTC with flexibility, and continue to recognize that “IP law grants enforceable rights.”

Clearing the Underbrush: How to Fight Low Quality Patents Related to Commoditized Technology that Threaten Innovation

IP departments are often forced to spend their limited budget defending patent troll lawsuits targeted at the base computing and service layers instead of where it should be spent – protecting application layer innovation. There has been no shortage of such litigation due to the glut of vague and ambiguous software patents directed to basic computing technologies. These broad, vague patents have become glaring targets for trolls, who are eagerly buying them up and asserting them wherever they can. As a result, companies are being sued for patent infringement for things that aren’t directly related to their end products and services.