Federal Trade Commission

Yesterday, the Second Circuit in Lotus v. Hon Hai Precision affirmed the district court’s dismissal of antitrust and breach of contract claims arising from foreign activity based on the patent owner not licensing, but asserting in litigation in China, patents subject to FRAND-Z (i.e., royalty free) standard setting obligations.  Consistent with the U.S. Federal Trade

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently published a Federal Register notice seeking additional public comments on the FTC’s proposed collection of information about Patent Assertion Entities (“PAEs”) (see our Sep. 27, 2013 post about the FTC’s first notice about the PAE study).  Public comments are due by June 18, 2014.

Generally.  In this notice,

Hopefully the current patent reform effort to address perceived patent litigation abuse problems will result in carefully targeted tweaks to–without harming–our otherwise thriving U.S. patent system, the greatest system for innovation that the world has ever known (see our Patent Forest post).  The Senate is currently considering this balance.  The Senate Judiciary Committee was

As we discussed in a prior post, the U.S. Senate is currently debating a patent reform bill (“the Innovation Act”) passed by the House of Representatives late last year directed to perceived patent litigation abuse by certain patent assertion entities (what some characterize as “patent trolls”).  The Senate is also debating a competing bill

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it was closing its investigation into Samsung’s use of standard essential patents, which investigation had “focused on Samsung’s attempts to use its SEPs to obtain exclusion orders from the [ITC] relating to certain iPhone and iPad models.”  DOJ stated that further investigation was no longer

Yesterday patent monetization entity MPHJ filed a Complaint in W.D. Tex. against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for threatening an enforcement action against MPHJ premised on MPHJ’s extensive letter campaign to accumulate license fees on its scanner patents by threatening small end-users with litigation that MPHJ allegedly did not actually intend to pursue.  We

Today, the Second Circuit will hear argument in an important case on the extent that foreign injury (reduced foreign sales and closure of foreign plants) arising from foreign RAND breaches can have remedy in the U.S. based on their impact on U.S. commerce.  The case, Lotes Co., Ltd. V. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.,

Today the Federal Trade Commission made its long-awaited announcement that it has voted to seek public comment on a proposal to conduct a Section 6(b) study of patent assertion entities and their impact on innovation and competition.  The FTC proposes this study based on requests from the public and Senators as well as the FTC’s

Late last week, the American Antitrust Institute submitted a very interesting petition to the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.  In the petition, which is titled “Request for Joint Enforcement Guidelines on the Patent Policies of Standard Setting Organizations,” the AAI urges these agencies to step up their enforcement of the antitrust laws with respect to SSOs themselves — not merely the participants in the standard-setting process.  To that end, the AAI requests that the FTC/DOJ (1) issue specific guidelines for what should be included in SSO patent policies, and (2) hold SSOs liable for not adopting procedural safeguards to prevent patent hold-up behavior.
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Back in December 2012, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice held a joint workshop to explore the impact that patent assertion entities (PAEs — or non-practicing entities/NPEs) may be having on innovation, competition, and the U.S. economy.  The FTC and DOJ invited the public to submit comments for consideration by the agencies, even extending the deadline for submission until early April.  All in all, 68 separate submissions have been received and posted on the FTC/DOJ workshop’s site.

The commenters represent a wide variety of industries and interests, and express divergent viewpoints and positions about the effects of PAE activity.  Many comments focus on the newly-reintroduced SHIELD Act.  Given that the main focus of this blog is on standard-essential patent issues, we won’t even try to give a comprehensive rundown of all of the comments — we’ll leave the focus on non-practicing entities to others.  But several of the comments do express particular concern about the interplay between PAEs, standard-setting organizations and standard-essential patents.  After the jump, we’ll discuss some of these issues that are being flagged as troublesome.


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