On June 20, The NY Times published an article F.T.C. Head Seeks End to Misuse of Patents confirming the FTC is planning to investigate patent assertion entities or pejoratively "patent trolls."
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez's stated: A Federal Trade Commission investigation into the practices of "patent trolls" is necessary because there is little real evidence about the costs and benefits of a rising tide of patent litigation. This insight strikes at the assumption that the rising tide of PAE lawsuits is damaging the economy.
Ms. Ramirez noted "Despite the rapid growth in the number of lawsuits filed by those patent-focused companies, regulators have little more than anecdotal evidence of how patent trolls affect business innovation and whether the patent-enforcement companies help to produce benefits that small companies could not enjoy on their own. We have a role to play in advancing a greater understanding of the impact of P.A.E. activity and using our enforcement authority where appropriate to curb anticompetitive and deceptive conduct."
Although this is framed as an investigation, PAE's should be prepared to articulate how they actually level the playing field for small entities and in the end benefit America. If they cannot, well life can be tough. On the other hand, if they do a good job stating the value, it could be FTC investigation will inform the American public that not all PAE are alike nor deserving of the same treatment.
Copyright © 2013 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.