This afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing titled “Abusive Patent Litigation: The Issues Impacting American Competitiveness and Job Creation at the International Trade Commission and Beyond.”  This hearing comes on the heels of a broader hearing on abusive patent litigation held by the same committee two months ago, as well as a different hearing in July 2012 that generally addressed the ITC’s role in deciding patent disputes.  Several witnesses representing a variety of diverse backgrounds and interests testified today before the subcommittee, including:

  • Kevin Rhodes, VP and Chief IP Counsel for 3M Innovative Properties Co.
  • Jon Dudas, Former Director of the USPTO (and a member of the board of non-practicing entity MOSAID Technologies)
  • Prof. Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University
  • Russell Binns, Associate General Counsel for IP Law & Litigation at Avaya
  • Deanna Tanner Okun, Former Chairwoman of the ITC (and a partner at Adduci Mastriani & Schaumberg)
  • David Foster, Chairman of the Legislative Committee for the ITC Trial Lawyers Association (and a partner at Foster, Murphy, Altman & Nickel)

A link to the video webcast of the full hearing is available at the House Judiciary Committee’s website, along with PDFs of each witness’s prepared testimony.  Our friends at Patent Progress also live-tweeted the event — take a look at their Twitter feed @PatentProgress for their blow-by-blow account.

As we anticipated, while standard-essential patents were not the focus of this particular hearing, the issue of SEPs was indeed given some attention.  In his opening remarks, Congressman Melvin Watt noted concerns some have expressed about the potential for improper usage of standard-essential patents in seeking injunctive relief, and Congressman Ted Poe briefly quizzed Prof. Chien about the propriety of asserting standard-essential patents in the ITC. 


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Today the Federal Circuit issued a per curiam order (with Judge Newman dissenting) denying a combined petition for a panel rehearing and a rehearing en banc in InterDigital Communications v. International Trade Commission (No. 2010-1093) (en banc).  However, along with the order, the panel also issued a new opinion to fully address arguments made by intervenor Nokia (the respondent in the underlying ITC case, Inv. No. 337-TA-613).  In the opinion (written by Judge Bryson), the Court reiterates its prior conclusion (InterDigital Commc’ns v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 690 F.3d 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2012)) that non-practicing entities (NPEs) may satisfy the ITC’s domestic industry requirement through substantial investment in domestic licensing activities, without any need to prove that any licensed products are actually produced domestically.
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