The Office of Management and Budget Action has approved the FTC’s request to conduct its proposed “Patent Assertion Entity Study” directed to analyzing ongoing PAE activity (see our May 21, 2014 and Sep. 27, 2013 posts for more information on the study and questions related to SSOs and SEPs). According to the Federal Register notice published in May 2014, the study is designed to “collect information about Patent Assertion Entity (“PAE”) organization, structure, economic relationships, and activity, including acquisition, assertion, litigation, and licensing practices” in order to analyze any competitive effects of PAE activity in the market:
PAEs are firms with a business model based primarily on purchasing patents and then attempting to generate revenue by litigating against, or licensing to, persons who are already practicing the patented technology. Currently, the public record of PAE activity focuses on publicly-available litigation data. Litigation, however, is only part of the picture. PAE activity encompasses a wide range of non-public behavior related to acquisition and licensing practices, together with structural issues related to organization and economic relationships. Data analyzing this behavior is not available through the public record and it is not available from a single private source.
It has been reported that the FTC expects to begin sending queries to both PAEs and manufacturing companies very soon and that the PAE study is expected to be completed next year, though OMB has approved the study through August 31, 2017.