This past Friday, the FTC received OMB approval to go ahead with the 6(b) study on patent assertion entities. It’s been a long time coming, but the FTC did a thorough job of gathering feedback from everyone with an interest in the study. The questionnaires are solid.
Now that the last hurdle has been cleared, the FTC should move quickly to serve subpoenas.
We know that the patent troll problem is getting worse. (See here and here.) But one of the big barriers to Congressional action has been the (false) claim that we don’t have enough information about the scope of the problem. The results of the 6(b) study should silence that claim. (Not that we need to wait. As FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said, tackling patent trolls needs a multi-faceted approach, and there’s no reason for Congress to delay action.)
We’re also looking forward to seeing what the FTC learns about patent privateering. The study could be our first real chance to expose the tactics of companies who have been quietly using patent trolls to do their dirty work.
There’s no time to waste. Patent trolls won’t stop on their own, and we need all the ammunition we can get.