FTC opens inquiry into 'patent assertion entities,' aka patent trolls

By on September 28, 2013, 10:45 PM
ftc, intellectual property, federal trade commission, patent trolls, innovation

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced they are opening an inquiry into patent assertion entities, otherwise known as patent trolls. Specifically, the FTC is looking into roughly 25 companies that are in the business of buying and enforcing patents. Better late than never, right?

Collectively, the companies that are being looked into were responsible for 60 percent of the 4,000+ patent litigation lawsuits levied in 2012. To give you an idea of just how bad it is becoming, the number of patent lawsuits shot up 70 percent from 2004 to 2009. In the event the FTC finds evidence of wrongdoing, patent trolls could be looking at a series of antitrust lawsuits.

It’s a bit puzzling that it has taken this long for the FTC to take action. Part of the delay likely has to do with the fact that patent trolling is pretty much limited to the technology industry. If it were more widespread, it’s likely the FTC would have stepped in sooner.

As Gizmodo points out, it was a little more than two years ago when the NPR publically reported on the act. The next summer, some members of the House of Representatives created the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Peter Lazio, said patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs. Instead, they pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create then suing innovators that did the hard work and created the product.




User Comments: 4

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misor misor said:

Maybe the u.s. government should also look into itself for being a "police troll". some countries are labeling the u.s..a as the "world police" because of its policy of meddling in other nation's affairs uninvited or by forced invitation. don't get me wrong. I would love the u.s.a.'s meddling in my country's affairs (the Philippines), provided that it will annex us as part of its territory once again. (the first time is after the u.s.-spain war in 1898+, the second during/after? WWII 1945-1946)

on topic: being in a state of ignorant bliss, I wonder how patents are enforced. do companies who have significant investments in such patents register their portfolio in every country?. I think I read it somewhere in techspot an article pertaining to patent cases which were won by Apple but in another area/territory, the 'same cases' were won by Samsung. do these companies go to an international arbitration?

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Maybe the u.s. government should also look into itself for being a "police troll". some countries are labeling the u.s..a as the "world police" because of its policy of meddling in other nation's affairs uninvited or by forced invitation. don't get me wrong. I would love the u.s.a.'s meddling in my country's affairs (the Philippines), provided that it will annex us as part of its territory once again. (the first time is after the u.s.-spain war in 1898+, the second during/after? WWII 1945-1946)...[ ]....
Maybe we , (erroneously), thought we left you in good hands, (or rather 'good feet' , with Imelda Marcos....:oops:

misor misor said:

Maybe the u.s. government should also look into itself for being a "police troll". some countries are labeling the u.s..a as the "world police" because of its policy of meddling in other nation's affairs uninvited or by forced invitation. don't get me wrong. I would love the u.s.a.'s meddling in my country's affairs (the Philippines), provided that it will annex us as part of its territory once again. (the first time is after the u.s.-spain war in 1898+, the second during/after? WWII 1945-1946)...[ ]....
Maybe we , (erroneously), thought we left you in good hands, (or rather 'good feet' , with Imelda Marcos....:oops:

lol, the u.s.a. supported mr. marcos and his wife even during the first people power in edsa 1986. that is the burden of the u.s.a., supporting dictators. .

as for Imelda's 10,000+ pair of shoes, well, at least a Filipino is in the guiness book of world records.

we Filipinos deserve the leaders we 'elected' to lead us. we kicked mr Joseph Estrada out of his office on the second people power in edsa 2001. afterwards, we 'elected' to the senate under different electoral terms his wife, dr. Loi, his son, mr Jinggoy Estrada, and his other son mr JV Ejercito.

we Filipinos have the loudest mouths of clamoring for a clean government and we profess to do battles against corruption yet we elect the same leaders over and over again.

and to reiterate again, we Filipinos deserve the leaders we 'elected'.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

...[ ]....

we Filipinos have the loudest mouths of clamoring for a clean government and we profess to do battles against corruption yet we elect the same leaders over and over again.

and to reiterate again, we Filipinos deserve the leaders we 'elected'.

Actually, your elect then depose cycle strangely mirrors a bullemic's "binge and purge antics".

We've been more successful recently at putting our politicians in jail.

But I, and on behalf of the US people, plead nolo contendre, in relation to claiming the record for "most pairs of shoes gained through theft of public funds". That distinction and glory, rests solely with the Philippine people.

Yes, we do support dictators. That can be the cost of maintaining national security. Without a US supported Cuban dictator, yet get Fidel Castro. With Fidel Castro you get boatloads of Russian ICBMs.

Even if we realize we have an untenable position, or made mistake in our backing of a leader, if we go in to rectify the problem, we get called invaders..

Someone called the US, "the only touchy, feely superpower.

A foreign country's best fortune is to have the US blow it up completely. After which, we feel it is our responsibility, nay verily, our manifest destiny, to rebuild everything better than it was before the war. Then I say, "crank up the money presses, we have grafty civilian contractors that need to make a fortune off of this latest fiasco".

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