IP Market Updates
October 9, 2016
There were several interesting developments in the past week in the US on the IP side. I’ll highlight a few:
- The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its much awaited report on Non Practicing Entity (NPE) initiated patent litigation. The FTC’s mission is the promotion of consumer protection and the elimination and prevention of anticompetitive business practices. It initiated an investigation a year ago as the request of several large industry players who feel they are on the receiving end of too much “abusive” patent litigation in the US. The anti-troll lobby (aka the “efficient infringers”) who were expecting a scathing report supporting their narrative were in for some disappointment, as the FCT final document was fairly balanced and overall concluded that no major changes were required in the current system to curb “nuisance” patent litigation. The FTC made a few practical recommendations, some that have already been implemented (e.g. more detailed pleadings) or come straight from some of the current proposed patent “improvement” bills currently stuck on the hill.
- The US Supreme Court refused in one single day to hear about 10 cases that had all in common that it would have given the Court the opportunity to clarify its own Alice ruling which has since become a runway train and has resulted in a large majority of patents being invalidated on the premise that they simply represent an “abstract idea”. In short, the highest court is telling the lower divisions that they have created that mess and they need to clean it themselves.
- In a parallel development, the Federal Circuit Division which hears all the appeals in the US coming from both district courts and the PTAB (and whose own appeals are sent to the Supreme Court) stated that its role was not to review any factual matter in IP cases, something that seems self-evident but that it had steered away from in the past years. As a result, we might see fewer district court decisions being overturned in the future.
- Last but not least, the same Federal Circuit division revived the $120M patent award that Apple had initially received against Samsung. It will be interesting to see whether this restarts the mobile patent war that was escalated a few years ago with a $1 billion award in favor of Apple against Samsung in a related case. That old feud might also become some kind of ménage à trois with the recent launch by Google of its own smartphone: the Pixel. Google is itself still sitting on a vast chest of relevant patents that it either kept or licensed to itself when it resold the Motorola Mobility Division to Lenovo.
For more related and interesting news in the IP marketplace, see below.
Court reinstates $120M patent award for Apple in Samsung case
IN THE NEWS
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