President Obama and the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit struck a one-two punch in the fight against patent trolls this week.
On June 4, 2013, the President announced seven legislative proposals and five executive actions “designed to protect innovators from frivolous litigation and ensure the highest-quality patents in our system.” In the President’s words, these Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) “hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money.” Instead of producing anything themselves, he said, they engage in “abusive litigation and extraction of settlements.”
The President’s legislative recommendations include:
And the President’s executive actions include:
The White House also issued a study documenting the toll that these activities take on the economy and innovation. The study found that in 2012, PAEs brought over 2,500 lawsuits, accounting for 62% of all patent lawsuits filed in the United States.
On the same day as the White House’s announcement, Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, along with law professors Colleen V. Chien and David Hricik, published an op-ed in the New York Times that expressed similar concerns over patent troll lawsuits. The op-ed argues that judges already have the authority to curtail abusive suits by shifting the cost of litigation from the defendant to the patent troll under Section 285 of the Patent Act, and under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The op-ed concludes with a call to action: “Judges know the routine all too well, and the law gives them the authority to stop it. We urge them to do so.”
Click here to view the Fact Sheet and “Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation” study report released by the White House on Tuesday. Click here to view “Make Patent Trolls Pay in Court,” the editorial opinion published in the New York Times.