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US trade and justice watchdogs eye up patent asserters

Hold a workshop on the impact of patent assertion activities
Tue Nov 20 2012, 09:52
Gavel and money

TWO UNITED STATES WATCHDOGS, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking for opinions on whether patents are holding back innovation and competition and causing antitrust problems.

The two federal government organisations will hold a day long workshop on the issue next month on 10 December, and will seek the opinions of the industry and the public.

Patent Assertion Entities (PAE) either improve industry or hold it back. The FTC and DoJ will seek to find out whether they are a bridge to innovation or litigation, and will ask questions such as whether patent purchases are made just so one company can grind cash out of another.

"Supporters of the PAE business model say that it facilitates the transfer of patent rights, rewards inventors and funds ongoing research and development efforts," said the DoJ in announcing the workshop.

"Critics describe adverse effects on competition and innovation, including increased costs and a lack of technology transfer, ultimately taxing consumers and industry."

The day long workshop will be a forum for the industry, academics, lawyers and anyone with an interest in the area and will involve a series of panels with various representatives. Technology firms lined up to attend include HP, Nokia, Mosaid, Cisco, Rackspace and Research in Motion.

The workshop is open to the public, and written submissions will be accepted until 10 March next year. µ


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