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.