Sunday, August 25, 2013

Manus Cooney - GAO Report Finds No NPE Patent Litigation Crisis & Patent System Has No Negative Impact on Innovation

On August 22, I posted GAO's Study - Assessing Factors That Affect Patent Infringement Litigation Could Help Improve Patent Quality. The GAO study contradicts reports of a non-practicing entity (NPE) patent litigation crisis:
  • NPEs account for 20% of patent litigation; operational companies or practicing entities (e.g., Apple, Google, and Samsung) account for 80%
  • Software patents account for 89% of patent litigation
  • Patent lawsuits only slightly increased from 2000 to 2010
  • The America Invents Act (AIA) requiring a separate suit for each defendant rather than allowing joinder of multiple defendants drives the 1/3 increase in post-AIA lawsuits since the AIA passed
Today, Manus Cooney's GAO Report Finds No NPE Patent Litigation Crisis in IP Watchdog gave some highlights of the GAO Report noting: "Just when Congress is gearing up to consider a package of patent reform initiatives aimed at dealing with abusive patent litigation, the U.S. General Accountability Office has released a much anticipated study of the 'consequences of litigation' by non-practicing entities as mandated by Section 34 of The America Invents Act (AIA). Given that Section 34’s language and directives could best be described as unenthusiastic towards licensing and the enforcement of patents, an objective reader of the GAO study cannot help but conclude that the GAO did not conduct or produce the sort of scornful report on the state of our patent system that large IT companies and patent-skeptics had hoped for. While the report is not a vindication for NPEs (far from it), it did not give patent critics what they hoped to get (i.e. an independent agency’s finding that patent litigation is exploding and that this increase in litigation is having a negative impact on innovation).  Quite the contrary."

Mr. Cooney sounds like a voice in the wilderness. But maybe he is right -- and the entire NPE patent litigation crisis is the handiwork of corporate lobbyists, not to say the US patent system is perfect, to steamroll more US patent law reform.
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