PublishedDecember 7, 2012

Previewing Monday’s DOJ/FTC Workshop on Patent Trolls and Antitrust

On Monday, Patent Progress will be out in full force at the joint public workshop on patent assertion entity (PAE) behavior organized by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  They have put together an excellent series of panels, and we will be live-tweeting the workshop all day at our Twitter handle: @PatentProgress.  There is no hashtag yet for the event, so please follow us on Twitter to see our comments.

Patent Progress supports the FTC and DOJ in their efforts to shed light on the anti-competitive effects of patent trolls and privateers.  In addition to examining how trolls hold-up innovative companies by amassing significant patent portfolios, the FTC and DOJ should look further into “privateering,” the increasing practice of large companies working with trolls to attack their rivals.

As for the event itself, Colleen Chien will be giving the opening lecture.  She has done groundbreaking work looking at the effects of patent trolls on startups and the high-tech field generally, and it should be a compelling presentation.

The second presentation will be from Carl Shapiro, who authored an important paper on the patent thicket and the role antitrust solutions could play in solving it.  He is a leading thinker on the intersection of antitrust and patents, and will also provide a great perspective for the workshop.

After the keynotes, there will be three sessions, all of which have balanced panels that should provide differing perspectives on PAEs and antitrust law.  Specifically, the first session entitled, “Realities of Licensing and Litigation Practices,” should have some fireworks pitting representatives from notorious non-practicing entities Intellectual Ventures and Mosaid against representatives from Cisco and RPX.  Cisco CEO John Chambers has come out guns blazing against trolls, with Cisco making racketeering allegations against two trolls.  RPX has come up with an innovative solution to companies facing patent troll problems — self-help by helping corporations manage their exposure to patent litigation.

Session B will focus on the efficiencies and problems created by trolls.  Session C will focus on the role of antitrust and patent assertion entities.  Although he is not on the panel, Patent Progress’s David Balto will be preparing an interesting analysis on this topic which we will cross-post on Patent Progress on Monday.

It should certainly be an interesting and eventful day and we look forward to being a part of it.  As a reminder, the full schedule is available and the event will be live streamed.

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Josh Lamel

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