According to numerous news sources, including this TechDirt post, the President today will announce a forceful White House effort to not only directly address litigation abuses by some patent holders, but also several underlying weaknesses in the patent system that can be easily exploited.
One executive branch-level action on patent assertion entities/patent monetizers/patent trolls that has been underway since last December is a joint Federal Trade Commission/Department of Justice inquiry. The inquiry began with a public workshop and has progressed into 2013 with a public comment period.
Last Thursday, Washington Legal Foundation held a Media Briefing program focused on this inquiry and the issues surrounding it entitled “Patent Assertion Entities” And Antitrust: The FTC/DOJ Inquiry And Underlying Legal Policy Issues”. Lisa Kimmel, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez’s chief legal adviser on intellectual property issues, reported on the inquiry’s focus, its motivation, and next steps. Lonnie Rosenwald, Chief Counsel for Invention Science & Development with patent monetizer Intellectual Ventures (IV), explained IV’s business model, the benefits it confers on inventors and the patent system, and why government inquiries should focus more on the perceived rise in patent infringement than on competition policy concerns with monetization. Avancept LLP patent consultant and attorney Thomas Ewing questioned Ms. Rosenwald’s benign description of IV’s beneficial role in the patent marketplace and encouraged the federal agencies to take a probing look at IV and other monetizers.
The program is also available on WLF’s YouTube channel.
Two days after WLF’s Media Briefing program, National Public Radio’s “This American Life” program ran a fascinating feature, “When Patents Attack, Part II,” which in part investigated Intellectual Venture’s assertion that its purchase of an online business-related patent conveyed significant benefits on the inventor.