Monday, February 27, 2012

Lobbying to Block ITC from Hearing Non-practicing Entities

When I worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 1993 -1998, I met Barney Cassidy. Barney is a Harvard Law graduate and was a well respected, busy, and well liked attorney at WSGR. Where is he now? Barney Cassidy is General Counsel at Tessera Technologies, Inc., which develops, and patents next-generation electronic devices and related packaging. Tessera has become an important voice in Silicon Valley that believes the US patent system is valuable and under attack by special interests. In Follow the Money - Will the ITC Lose its Patent Jurisdiction? Barney discusses the ITC Working Group's lobbying effort to (1) keep the ITC from hearing non-practicing entities patent infringement cases, and (2) weaken the ITC's ability to block importation of infringing products. Who are members of the ITC Working Group? Apple, Avaya, Broadcom, Cisco, HP, Intel and Oracle. It's best to read Barney's article, but Barney's point is high tech companies have an interest to prevent NPEs (e.g., Universities, independent inventors, and companies who do not manufacture all they patent) from accessing the ITC. Yet preserving the NPE's right to seek ITC enforcement is in America's interest. I am not happy with all the patent infringement actions filed in the ITC, but agree all patent holders deserve the right to file a complaint in the ITC and have it considered on the merits. I know from personal experience that sometimes the companies patents are ahead of the market. Later the company makes what is described in the patent. Should we exclude that company before it begins manufacturing? As Barney asks would we block one of America's most prolific inventors Thomas Edison from filing in the ITC, because he was a non-practicing entity?

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.