FTC Releases Report on Patent Assertion Entities

Three years ago, the Federal Trade Commission announced a study of “patent assertion entities” (“PAEs”): “businesses that acquire patents from third parties and seek to generate revenue by asserting them against alleged infringers.”  The FTC’s purpose was to gather information about PAEs in order to make informed policy decisions regarding “the role of PAEs in promoting innovation and economic growth.” Yesterday, the FTC released its report, Patent Assertion Entity Activity: An FTC Study, which considers—in 269 pages—the practices of 22 PAEs and 327 affiliated entities from January 2009 through mid-September 2014.  This post addresses three findings in the report. Portfolio   Read More »

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Patent Assertion Entity Settles FTC Charges

Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) acquire patent rights and attempt to generate revenue by licensing or litigating the patents.  In September 2013, the FTC announced its decision to collect empirical data to study the effects of PAE activities. Recently, on November 6, 2014, the FTC agreed to settle charges against MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC, a PAE that sent patent enforcement letters to thousands of small businesses and demanded licensing fees.  The FTC charged MPHJ and its law firm with using “deceptive sales claims and phony legal threats” to enforce MPHJ’s patents. This is the first time the FTC has responded to   Read More »

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FTC Requests Comments on Proposed Study of Patent Assertion Entities

On September 27, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission announced its intention to conduct a study of “patent assertion entities” (“PAEs”).  The FTC’s press release is here, the Federal Register notice is here, and the online public comment form is here. According to the FTC, “PAEs are firms with a business model based primarily on purchasing patents and then attempting to generate revenue by asserting the intellectual property against persons who are already practicing the patented technology.”  The FTC distinguishes PAEs from other non-practicing entities “that primarily seek to develop and transfer technology, such as universities, research entities and design firms.”   Read More »

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