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Posts Tagged: "patent litigation abuse"

USPTO Director Nominee Andrei Iancu has Confirmation Hearing Before the Senate Judiciary Committee

On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 29th, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing to consider the nomination of four political appointees from the Trump Administration. Included among the days’ nominees was Andrei Iancu, President Trump’s selection to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Though the nomination hearing was brief and Iancu’s remarks were very measured, there would be reason for patent owners to think that a more balanced playing field at the USPTO could start to form should Iancu be confirmed as Director of the agency.

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.

The PTAB has failed to solve the patent troll problem created by large operating companies

The patent troll problem has always been a creation of large operating companies. They obtained dubious, highly questionable patents. These low quality patents were then sold to other entities so they could specifically and intentionally be used to sue other large operating companies… Post grant challenges were created in the AIA for the express purpose of getting rid of these low quality patents. The large operating companies that so desperately lobbied for new procedures to challenge these low quality patents instead continue to pay extortion-like settlements to patent trolls who apparently continue to sue alleging infringement of low quality patents.

Goodlatte pledges to pursue patent litigation reform, copyright reform in 115th Congress

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) holds the Chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee, and as such will wield a great deal of power over any intellectual property related legislative reforms that will occur during the 115th Congress. Earlier today Goodlatte unveiled his agenda for the 115th Congress. Not surprisingly, a portion of his agenda includes additional patent litigation reform in order to address what he characterizes as “truly frivolous lawsuits,” as well as reforms to keep America’s patent laws up to date and copyright reforms to help ensure “America’s global leadership in creativity and innovation continues.”

Hillary Clinton supports patent reform, announces technology and innovation initiative

Clinton’s proposal for accomplishing this goal would be twofold: (1) to reduce excessive patent litigation through additional patent reform; and (2) strengthening the operational capacity of the USPTO by allowing the USPTO to keep and spend all the fees it collects. “You are looking at a 14-page detailed document. There is a lot of thought put behind this agenda,” explained Todd Dickinson, former Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office under President Bill Clinton who was reached by telephone for comment. Not surprisingly, Dickinson has has been an advisor to the campaign regarding intellectual property matters. “Other campaigns will be hard pressed to match the depth and thoughtfulness of these proposals.”

Loan fraud charges filed by SEC target notable patent troll Jay Mac Rust

The patent trolling by MPHJ and owner, Texas lawyer Jay Mac Rust, are well known. But now the SEC is going after Jay Mac Rust in federal court for fraud. The SEC’s complaint maintains that Atlantic had “no ability or intention to obtain these loans.” Rather, of the money the two collected, the SEC alleges that Rust took $662,000 from client funds for personal pay and risky securities investments; Brenner himself took $595,000, and both made investments claiming that the money was personally theirs and not from the client funds. Investigations at a brokerage firm where these trades were taking place led the SEC to discover the fraudulent activities.

What Can We Learn from the FTC’s Patent Assertion Entity Study?

It’s very unlikely that obtaining data from just 25 PAEs will provide a representative sampling of PAEs given that the universe of PAEs is largely unknown and probably very diverse… The problem is that in my experience both lawmakers and regulators routinely ignore important statistical limitations of federal studies. I say this with the experience of having worked for over 20 years as a federal government statistician. All too often policymakers use federal studies in ways beyond their intended purposes, with the result that legislation or regulation may be based on a flimsy and potentially inaccurate understanding of the underlying problem or the costs or benefits of proposed government action.

Congressman Issa calls patent trolls and plaintiffs interchangeable during ITC hearing

The Subcommittee is Chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has been an outspoken advocate for the need for more patent reform in order to provide relief from those he believes are abusing the patent litigation system — those sometimes called patent trolls. Indeed, from the start of the Thursday’s hearing, the debate regarding patent infringement at the ITC was couched in the language of the patent troll debate. For example, during his opening statement Congressman Issa rather imperiously stated: “for purposes of my opening statement ‘plaintiff’ and ‘troll’ will be interchangeable.” Issa, himself a patent owner, was forced to litigate against companies that pirated technology covered by his patents. As a patent owner forced to sue at numerous infringers, it would seem that Congressman Issa believes that patent owner and inventor Issa was a patent troll.

USPTO Director Michelle Lee delivers pro-patent speech at MIT

This speech by Director Lee is exceptionally important for two reasons. First, the strong and explicit recognition that abuse can and does happen on both sides of a patent dispute, which can and does lead to large companies taking advantage of smaller innovators. Second, the explicit appreciation of the fundamental purpose of the patent system, to create strong property rights that require others to design around as they seek follow-on innovation.

What are Legitimate Patent Rights and Who are Legitimate Patent Owners?

Use of this phrase strikes me as indefensible because by its very nature it implies picking winners and losers after the Patent Office has already issued a patent and taken money from the inventor. Or worse, it reinforces the two-class patent system that we increasingly see today, between those that “have” the resources to attack or defend patents and the “have nots” (everyone else). Once a patent issues it is a private property right. Period. By definition a patent is legitimate because it exists!

Patent Reform at all Costs: Desperate reformer resorts to lies

It is pure nonsense to say that opponents of patent reform never offer specifics, cite or discuss textual language of the bills. Utter fiction and complete fantasy. Frankly, Lee’s claims are as comical and insulting as they seem to be uninformed. Only the most disingenuous partisan could suggest that opponents of patent reform do not offer specific explanations citing to textual language of the bills. Indeed, quite the opposite is true. Opponents of patent reform make far more detailed and nuanced arguments. These intellectual, detailed, nuanced arguments have lead those fighting patent reform to lose the linguistic battle time and time again. So not only is what Lee saying false, but it is 180 degrees opposite from reality. So spurious are Lee’s claims that at first glance the article comes across as a piece of patent satire published by The Onion.

The story of the bullied patent owner, more widespread than bad acting patent trolls

We have all heard it. We all know it happens. Large company takes a look at what small company is working on, refuses to do a deal and then miraculously thereafter starts to infringe. In this, as in many cases, there was a confidentiality agreement, but what good is such an agreement without the means to enforce it? Even worse, it appears as if in this case the larger company had the audacity to file a patent application of their own after being granted access to what was supposed to be confidential information. Unfortunately, Congress and the Courts seem singularly focused on protecting helpless large multinational corporations who, as the story goes, are getting bullied by patent owners. That just isn’t the reality I see.

Behind the Scenes on Octane Fitness and Fee-Shifting

I think there was certainly a level of abuse prior to patent trolls from larger companies that weren’t scrupulous trying to sue smaller companies and using the high cost of patent litigation to get things they weren’t entitled to. The only difference was these smaller companies that were being abused didn’t have any lobbying efforts before Congress. So when the whole patent troll issue came to a fever pitch the biggest companies in America were being held hostage to it. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, all of the most notorious companies that are just great technologies were being sued by smaller entities. And how do these smaller entities get economic leverage over these big companies? They did it because they could file 40 lawsuits at a time so the incremental cost beyond case number one didn’t cost anything. And they would just hold out for these nuisance value settlements and that’s why even the largest companies in America were being held hostage. How Octane changed that is now that you have a realistic chance of getting attorneys’ fees, now you have that chance now the bigger companies can stand up to a troll.

The Patent Games Publicly Traded Companies Play

In the patent arena it is not hypocrisy that is fueling the misguided strategies of tech companies. Instead it is the self-interest of tech CEOs who are increasingly only concerned about the short term. This is tragic because corporations are supposed to exist in perpetuity, not just until the current CEO can cash out with his or her golden parachute. Short term thinking of tech CEOs is destroying the patent system and wasting shareholder assets. What are these companies going to do when foreign corporations push their way into the U.S. marketplace? How will CEOs explain away the existential threat they face when foreign manufacturers flood the market with goods and services without regard to long since crippled patent portfolios of the former tech elite?