Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released a 269-page Report following its study of patent assertion entities (“PAEs”) — i.e. what the FTC’s press release calls “firms that acquire patents from third parties and then try to make money by licensing or suing accused infringers.” (see our Sep. 27, 2013 post, May 21, 2014 post and Aug. 14, 2014 post for background on this PAE study).  The report is based on a study of public information as well as non-public information that the FTC used its subpeona power to obtain resulting in data covering the 2009 to 2014 period from 22 PAEs, 327 PAE affilidate and over 2100 holding entities (entities that owned but did not assert patents).

The report indicates that not all PAEs are the same and concerns about PAEs should be focused on problematic behavior of a subset of PAEs–i.e., certain Litigation PAEs, but not Porfolio PAEs.  The report also indicates that there is no widespread concern about PAEs sending demand letters or PAEs owning standard essential patents subject to a FRAND or other standard setting licensing commitment.  The report provides some recommendations concerning patent reform, which are directed to patent litigation and the behavior of some Litigation PAEs.
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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,

Yesterday, in two separate precedential decisions on mandamus, the Federal Circuit refused to overturn the district courts’ decisions not to transfer patent assertion entity cases to the defendants’ home forum: In re Apple, Misc. 13-156 (mandamus from E.D. Tex.) and In re Barnes Noble, Misc. 13-162 (mandamus from W.D. Tenn.).  Both mandamus orders were

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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