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Unified Patents Under Attack From Patent Maximalists and Patent Trolls for Caring About Quality of Patents

Wikipedia on Unified Patents
Reference: Wikipedia



Summary: Unified Patents, which petitions/files inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), upsets the very people to whom low-quality patents -- and extortion with such patents -- are a business model

AS observers of the US patent system we typically keep track of pertinent patents that we believe pertain to software. Dallas (Texas), where many patent trolls go, recently had new patents listed in "Dallas Innovates"/"Dallas Invents". This site is about USPTO-granted patents, not about innovation or invention. Quite a few of the named patents seem to be on abstract ideas, not some machinery or chemistry or whatever. Courts around Dallas might actually tolerate such patents, but not the Federal Circuit (or SCOTUS, if it ever comes to that).

"Truth be told, Unified Patents does a fine job. If it profits from it, so be it."A few days later we saw "PatentDallas" ranting about Unified Patents, linking to this blog post from Mr. Gross, who habitually writes for Texan patent trolls like Dominion Harbor -- a troll whose patents get targeted by Unified Patents.

Truth be told, Unified Patents does a fine job. If it profits from it, so be it. It actually offers bounties for prior art and utilises Alice to invalidate software patents which are prolifically used, typically by trolls.

Unified Patents has just published some figures of interest, highlighting a rather high proportion of lawsuits coming from trolls:

Patent litigation in the first half of 2018 is 15 percent lower than in the first half of 2017. However, the proportion of NPE-related filings remains high, as seen in the figures below.

For the first time in this report, we have included litigation data for small and medium sized entities or “SMEs” (Figures 10 and 11). Almost 50% of all litigation against SMEs in High Tech was initiated by Patent Assertion Entities (i.e. entities who purchase patents for the primary purpose of monetization). This is especially troubling since SMEs lack the resources to challenge bad NPE assertions and are often forced to settle rather than risk a protracted and expensive litigation. Part of Unified’s mission is to end invalid PAE assertions against SMEs by 2020.


As we said last weekend, the number of US patent lawsuits "Was More Than 50% Higher Half a Decade Ago" and it's a sign of progress, but the aim should be to reduce troll lawsuits specifically. Not all patent lawsuits are without merit.

"Not all patent lawsuits are without merit."Days later, citing Unified Patents, patent extremist Richard Lloyd wrote about patent trolls (which he calls "NPEs" because these trolls pay his salary) and the general demise of patent litigation in the US (not behind a paywall, for a change, which means he wants extra exposure). To quote:

US patent litigation continued its slide in the first half of 2018 with 1,660 new suits filed, a 15% drop from the first six months of 2017.

The data, which was released late yesterday by Unified Patents, suggests that infringement cases are in long-term decline from their most recent high in 2015. That is a reflection of the much tougher legal climate that patent owners now face in bringing cases in the US as their IP runs the possible gauntlet of challenges over patent eligible subject matter in district court and inter partes review (IPR) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

[...]

While they remain very active in the high-tech space, accounting for the vast majority of new cases filed in that sector, Unified’s numbers do reflect the much-reduced threat that companies now face from NPEs. While there are some signs that conditions in the US are improving for patent owners, it doesn’t appear that we’re going to see a return anytime soon to the sky-high litigation rates of just a few years ago.


And that's a good thing. Unified Patents contributed to fear among trolls (that their patents might be challenged and invalidated if asserted inside or outside the court). Remember that this firm makes money out of elimination of bad patents -- certainly something we need more of (less patent maximalism, more patent reason). They have just advertised this upcoming competition. Can they make a generation of people whose goal is to reduce the overall number of patents rather than inflate and dilute?

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