CASE Act’s Copyright Enforcement Draws Mixed Response

In July, a bipartisan group from the Senate Judiciary Committee reintroduced the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, by which the U.S. Copyright Office will create a three-person Copyright Claims Board that will supervise a ‘small claims-style’ system for damages. The Copyright Alliance and the Graphic Artists Guild approved the move, which allows a copyright owner whose content was used without permission to claim for damages up to $15,000 for each work and $30,000 in total. However, some groups are opposing the Act and question the cost of such an approach. Continue reading CASE Act’s Copyright Enforcement Draws Mixed Response

Microsoft Rolls Out Additional Plans to Combat Patent Trolls

Microsoft revealed plans to expand its Azure IP Advantage patent troll defense program by offering its customers building Azure-compatible IoT services with access to a library of 10,000 patents that can help protect them from IP lawsuits, especially related to cloud computing. The tech giant also announced that it is contributing some 500 patents to the non-profit LOT Network, founded in 2014, which provides patents from a growing number of member companies and additional sources to help protect startups against patent trolls. Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out Additional Plans to Combat Patent Trolls

Red Hat and Lenovo Entice Startups to Join Anti-Troll Network

Four years ago, Google and Canon founded the non-profit LOT (License on Transfer) Network to combat litigation by trolls — companies that don’t make products, but seek profits from challenging patents. Now, Red Hat and Lenovo Group, two of LOT’s 224 members, are offering free patents to any startup that joins the group. When the dotcom bubble burst 20 years ago, bankrupt firms sold their patents, which were bought by speculators. Patent suits are declining, but are still an issue for companies of all sizes. Continue reading Red Hat and Lenovo Entice Startups to Join Anti-Troll Network

Supreme Court Ruling Confirms Internal U.S. Patent Reviews

In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an inter partes review (IPR) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not violate a defendant’s constitutional right to have a case determined by a federal court and jury. Congress created the process in 2011 to handle the large number of flimsy patent applications. The Houston-based Oil States International brought the case; pharmaceutical companies also called the IPR process “a threat to innovation.” Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch were the dissenting votes. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Confirms Internal U.S. Patent Reviews

Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court tightened rules on where patent lawsuits may be filed. The consequences, say the experts, will make it much more difficult for patent trolls to seek out friendly courts that are likely to rule in their favor. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents solely to demand royalties and sue for damages. Currently, more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits are filed in a federal court in East Texas, with a single judge there overseeing 25 percent of all nationwide patent cases. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

To Combat Patent Trolls, Google Offers Patents to Startups

Google has started a program to give away up to two non-organic patent families to startups. The offer requires those startups that gain patents to join the LOT Network, a cross-company licensing drive to decrease the number of patent-trolling suits. Canon, Dropbox, Pandora and SAP are among the other members of the LOT Network. This new move comes on the heels of Google’s April launch of a pop-up marketplace for companies to sell patents to Google. Google bought 28 percent of the total offered, some of which are available in this new program. Continue reading To Combat Patent Trolls, Google Offers Patents to Startups

Tech Industry Presses Government to Address Patent Reform

A number of top technology executives representing the Internet Association submitted a letter this week to leaders of the House of Representatives calling for quick passage of the Innovation Act of 2015. CEOs of Etsy, Gilt, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Rackspace, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yahoo and Yelp are among those urging politicians to pass the patent-reform bill this summer. The letter explains that these execs have “direct experience of the negative consequences of the patent troll business model on our economy.” Continue reading Tech Industry Presses Government to Address Patent Reform

SHIELD Act: Legislation Hopes to Discourage Patent Trolls

Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) want to put an end to America’s patent troll problem with the newly introduced SHIELD Act, which aims to define patent trolls and distinguish them from honest patent holders. In an effort to discourage those who do nothing more than file patent lawsuits, the bill would create a “loser pays” system for specific types of patent litigants. Continue reading SHIELD Act: Legislation Hopes to Discourage Patent Trolls

Report: Is Innovation being Stifled by Frivolous Lawsuits of Patent Trolls?

  • Looking at a database of over 1,600 patent troll lawsuits compiled by Patent Freedom, a team of Boston University researchers estimate that these suits have cost companies some $500 billion since 1990. These costs include not only legal fees and payouts to plaintiffs, but indirect costs such as employee distraction, legal uncertainty, and the need to redesign or drop key products.
  • The authors of the study also estimate that the original inventors received less than 10 percent of the “defendant’s lost wealth.”
  • Additionally, they found that software patents accounted for approximately 62 percent of the lawsuits (while a mere two percent of suits were related to drug or chemical patents, and only six percent involved mechanical patents).
  • The article concludes that the patent system is becoming a disincentive to innovation. “These results are important because the patent system is supposed to reward companies who invest in innovation,” suggests Ars Technica. “Yet thanks to the growing blizzard of frivolous patent lawsuits against technology companies, the patent system is actually becoming a net disincentive to innovation, especially software. We hope Congress and the Supreme Court are paying attention.”

iOS Developers Unite Against Lodsys and Patent Trolls

  • Renowned iOS developer Mike Lee announced on Monday a new venture called Appsterdam Legal Defense Team that will band together the small developers to fight against patent trolls.
  • Ars Technica reports: “The goal, aside from the obvious one of being free from frivolous patent lawsuits, is to become ‘the ants of East Texas, minding their business until someone invades their anthill.'”
  • Apple has licensed patents from Lodsys, which it says covers third party developers — but the infringement claims against iOS developers are continuing.
  • The result is uncertainty that could imperil these smaller developers and the developer community generally, not only for Apple but for Android and other platforms.
  • “This is bigger than just Apple platforms,” explains Lee. “Apple has the luxury and history of moving very slowly — they accepted a 60 day discovery, for example. Dozens of app makers could be destroyed by then. There is also good chance Apple can’t actually sue Lodsys, since Apple is under contract by Intellectual Ventures and IV probably snuck indemnity in there.”
  • “We’re going after Lodsys for sure, but understand the ultimate target is Intellectual Ventures,” Lee added. “They are the Mordor to these trolls.”