Much Ado About Injunctions

It’s become an article of faith among those complaining that patent reform has gone too far that the 2006 eBay case must be overturned—but that assertion doesn't appear to be backed up by the facts.

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Granted In 19 Hours

Patent examiners have an extremely hard job.  They’re given a patent application—which could be anywhere from a page long up to hundreds of pages, with patent claims ranging from a…

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Cross-Licenses, Royalty Stacking, and Patent Disputes

While the majority of U.S. patent litigation is now NPE litigation (and has been since at least 2009), litigation between operating companies continues to occur at roughly the same rate as it has for the past 20 years.  (So much for the idea that IPR or eBay destroyed the ability for patent owners to enforce their intellectual property.)

These two categories of litigation are often fundamentally different, occurring for completely different reasons.  For every Smartphone War, there are dozens of cases that are fundamentally about getting a competitor to pay a little more for the license they were probably already discussing taking.  That’s true in cellular technology, but it’s true in a lot of other areas as well, ranging from semiconductor manufacturing to automotive to digital video.  It’s relatively rare for an operating company to file a lawsuit without discussing the possibility of a license first—after all, patent litigation is expensive and if you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you?  (This is also why large companies employ entire teams of people whose sole job is to make deals to license patents—at least, once they’re aware those patents exist and have a chance to evaluate infringement.)

But there are a couple of considerations that can make it hard to get to an agreement as to that license. These considerations can result in litigation being filed—and often quickly settled after the parties refocus on negotiations, realizing that they’d far rather have a deal than spend tens of millions on protracted patent litigation.

Recent posts

Announcing the 2020 Patent Progress Writing Competition

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Patent Progress writing competition.   This competition, open to current law students, solicits scholarship regarding patent law.  This year’s general topic is new issues in patent law and policy related to the trend towards complex multi-component products.  Examples of such issues include apportionment of damages, the smallest saleable patent…

USPTO, DoJ, and NIST Issue FRAND/SEP Policy Statement

Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Justice, and National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a joint statement on standard-essential patents (SEPs).  The statement clarifies the agencies’ position on an earlier 2013 statement made by USPTO and DoJ while completing the process of formally withdrawing from that statement. In essence,…

New Bill May Lead To Overly Aggressive Blocking Of Goods At Border

A new bill, introduced by Sens. Coons, Tillis, Hirono, and Cassidy, would give Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers the authority to seize goods at the border if they involve design patent violations.  Customs already has this authority for goods that violate copyrights or trademarks. But design patents work differently.  Trying to use the same…