03.28.17

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With Important Supreme Court Decisions Looming, Mainstream Media Tackles Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Patents at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will soon rule on TC Heartland and Lexmark, potentially restricting abusive patent behaviour even further (making room for freedom to innovate and for competition)

THE TROLLS-funded IAM is busy softening the image of patent trolls (nice opportunity for the trolls to link to positive coverage about themselves), but trolls cannot just buy the entire media. Sure, some of them became multi-millionaires using one single bogus (invalided) patent, but how much longer can these parasites carry on? SCOTUS might soon take away from them their biggest ‘weapon’, which is biased courts.

The EFF wrote: “The @TODAYshow spotlights how patent trolls cherry-pick venue—an issue before the Supreme Court today.” It’s video (see above) which is summarised as follows:

Marshall, Texas, has become America’s unlikely capital for patent lawsuits. Companies spend weeks at a time there fighting over hundreds of millions of dollars – and giving a boost to the local economy. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk has the story for Sunday TODAY.

Currently, the EPO‘s management does everything it can to attract patent trolls to Europe (UPC, poor patent scope etc.) and the trolls are already expanding in China, where patent litigation has soared. The US seems to be the only country right now where this epidemic is properly understood and thus combated fiercely. Here is another new article about it: (from yesterday)

A senior counsel for J.C. Penney & Co. has all but given up waiting on the federal cavalry to arrive and protect her client from patent trolls. Instead, she and others have joined a community of patent-protectionist businesses in an effort to ward off what they say is a growing problem.

In a blog article titled Retailers Need to Join Forces to Solve Patent Troll Problem posted on the Chain Store Age website on March 13, attorney Diane K. Lettelleir discussed how trolls were targeting her client.

Watchtroll, another spokesman for patent trolls (just like IAM), is meanwhile bemoaning the deprivation of trolls by means of taking away their software patents. To quote:

…the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International 2014 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court has introduced patent eligibility challenges under 35 U.S.C. 101 of the United States Code that applicants may need to overcome to patent their digital health inventions, and those related to software, in particular. 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).

And rightly so. Very soon, the Justices of SCOTUS might take it a step further by tackling the Lexmark case in the same way Breyer tackled Alice v CLS Bank (Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Breyer and others). Professor Tomás Gómez-Arostegui, writing on the subject yesterday at Patently-O speaks of “cases [which] considered many of the same arguments that Lexmark and Kirtsaeng raise, such as the territoriality of patent rights; free trade among countries; the potential benefit to consumers of competition from imported gray-market goods; the potential harm to consumers who purchase goods in one country without any notice of their inability to bring those goods into another country; and the potential negative effect that gray-market imports could have on a domestic licensee.”

Lexmark is basically trying to restrict competition using patents, denying people control over devices they supposedly bought to own. We wrote about this many times before and we certainly hope that SCOTUS will rule in favour of average people rather than few millionaires and billionaires.

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