Friday, December 4, 2015

Joe Mullin - Patent Trolls Filed Hundreds of Lawsuits to Beat December 1 Deadline - Brief Comment

In Patent Trolls Filed Hundreds of Lawsuits to Beat December 1 Deadline, Mr. Joe Mullin states the amendment to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure effective December 1, 2015 triggered a US patent litigation spike in late-November 2015. He attributes the spike, i.e., 790 filings, to those seeking to avoid unfavorable amendments such as the heightened standard for a patent infringement complaint and elimination of FRCP Form 18.

Mr. Mullin's observations are not that surprising given a good lawyer should file a lawsuit before the law changes adversely to a client. But what is less clear is why he talks about "patent trolls" filing hundreds of lawsuits. Why are they trolls? He explains "with the exception of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, all the companies appear to be patent-holding shell companies." He might be right, but the danger is labeling a company a patent troll, because they have a business of licensing patents. Can't say I understand all of his views, but it appears the assumption is patent licensing by a non-practicing entity is a suspect category of business if you are an LLC and/or have an obscure name.

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