On July 31, 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a green paper entitled "Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy." The green paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions under U.S. copyright law, particularly in the context of the Internet and in view of the substantial economic impact of copyright-intensive industries.  The report was issued by the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with  input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National  Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Published in Copyright

As noted earlier on the Malloy & Malloy IP Blog, a national discussion has emerged on what many perceive as increasingly widespread and over-aggressive tactics by “patent trolls.” Patent trolls, which are less pejoratively known as patent assertion entities (PAEs) or non-practicing entities (NPEs), are persons or companies who legitimately obtain patent rights and then enforce the patents against alleged infringers, without actually making or using the patented inventions themselves (which is perfectly legal).

Published in Patent

As noted earlier on the Malloy & Malloy IP Blog, even the White House has recently joined the national discussion on what many perceive as increasingly widespread and over-aggressive tactics by “patent trolls.” Patent trolls, which are less pejoratively known as patent assertion entities (PAEs) or non-practicing entities (NPEs), are persons or companies who legitimately obtain patent rights and then enforce the patents against alleged infringers, without actually making or using the patented inventions themselves (which is perfectly legal). There has traditionally not been a great degree of public concern about such practices other than by those on the receiving end of patent enforcements, although public sentiment has been building over the past several years in reaction to a substantial increase in more aggressive activities of this kind. 

Published in Patent
Monday, 10 June 2013 18:54

THE WHITE HOUSE GOES TROLL HUNTING

The Obama administration has released a memo to Congress outlining several measures that would help curtail “patent trolling.”   The White House had no qualms about using the colloquial term “patent troll” to describe entities that – rather than researching or developing technology relative to their rights -- acquire patents solely to extract payments from alleged infringers. 

The suggested reforms are aimed at increasing transparency and providing defendants "better legal protection against liability."   A few recommendations worth noting include (1) requiring parties to disclose the "real-party-in-interest" in lawsuits and demand letters; (2) encouraging the publication of demand letters to make them accessible to the public; (3) protecting end users using "off-the-shelf" products; and (4) make it easier for a prevailing defendant to obtain an award of attorneys' fees in a patent infringement action.   The memo also recommends facilitating challenges to business method patents and restricting the circumstances under which the International Trade Commission (ITC) can issue injunctions.  

While it remains to be seen what legislative action will follow, the administration has – for the time being – approved the creation of a US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) website informing patent troll victims about their rights and defenses.  For more information click here.

Published in Patent