Judge Rader misses the point

At IPWatchdog Gene Quinn covers a speech by Federal Circuit Chief Judge Rader at the Association of University Technology Managers in San Antonio.  According to the post, the Chief Judge said matter-of-factly

Yes, I do think there is a litigation abuse problem.” Game on! Chief Judge Rader would go on to discuss the blackmail-like shake-downs that are plaguing the industry and giving the patent system an unjustified bad name.

Yet Judge Rader later stated:

There is nothing wrong with the patent system. The patent system has a narrow focus…. It’s not a competition program…. The things that the patent system is criticized for is not its job.

It is hard to read Chief Judge Rader’s comments to say anything other than ‘yes, there is a problem, but it isn’t our problem.’  But we cannot so easily foist responsibility for the patent litigation crisis off onto some faceless ‘other’ bad actor in some other discipline.

Patent assertion entities now comprise more than 60% of patent litigation.  These are IP claims brought by IP lawyers under IP law and often appealed to a specialized IP court.  This is not a generic litigation problem.  We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Matthew Schruers

Matthew Schruers

Matthew Schruers is Vice President for Law & Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), where he represents and advises the association on domestic and international policy issues including intellectual property, competition, and trade.  He is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and the Georgetown Graduate School Program on Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT), where he teaches courses on intellectual property.