Harry Reid (left) vs. Patrick Leahy (on the right) i>
When in December 2013 the House of Representatives 325 votes to 91 voted law S. 1720 "A Bill to promote transparency in patent ownership and make other improvements to the patent system, and for other purposes ", the driver of which is Patrick Leahy (Patrick Leahy), a Democratic senator from Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the US Senate, in technological circles, there was a splash optimism. The meaning of the amendments summarized here ; their entry into force would have significantly changed the judicial review of patent disputes. The bill strongly supported by Google and Cisco Systems, and the whole coalition of groups led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, including Public Knowledge, Open Technology Institute, Engine Advocacy, and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA).
However, in May 2014, Patrick Leahy surprised many снял the bill from the agenda of the Judiciary Committee, which means that the discussion is likely to be able to continue until next year. The source, who know the law-kitchen US pointed to Harry Reid (Harry Reid), a Democratic senator from the state of Nevada and the Senate majority leader, as someone who actually clicked on the "red button".
The amendments would significantly complicate the life of the patent trolls, but on different sides of the bill up in arms, including directly related to trolling, do not seem to have. Coalition patentees Innovation Alliance said the bill would allow the patent owner to consider each as a troll. Among the participants of the Innovation Alliance have major patent holders, for example, Qualcomm and Dolby, which sometimes are aggressive patent policy, but that it is difficult to classify trolls. It reacted negatively to the document, and American universities, which are widely patent their inventions, but to implement them in practice do not have the physical possibility. The position of the university expressed, for example, the company Edison Nation , mediating in the process of monetization of university development.
However, the main pressure is exerted, apparently, they still do not. Julie Samuels (Julie Samuels), director of Engine , lobbying the interests of start-ups, заявила, "it made the pharmaceutical industry and trial lawyers." Fierce struggle manufacturers' patentikov "(patented medicines) against the makers of" generic "(drug substitute) is well known. The market drugs is huge, and in the US with the pharmaceutical industry in one way or another connected 3, 4 million. Jobs . The bill technically complicate the prosecution of producers of "generic" and from patent trolls pharmaceutical giants are not particularly affected, in any case, they have someone to protect. In 2011, America had more than 1, 2 million. Licensed lawyers , not all of them appear in court, and certainly not all specialize in patent matters, but the total number is impressive. And in recent years, there has clearly shift specialization lawyers towards intellectual property. For lawyers who practice in the courts, reducing the number of complaints is falling incomes. It is logical to assume that patent trolls are not sitting idly by, but their resources are clearly not commensurate with the resources of Major pharmaceutical and largest law firms. Therefore, the opinion Julie Samuels does not look strange.
Against the background of these developments is appropriate to recall the history of the origin of the term "patent troll." Currently, it is used against a person who acquires the patents without the intention to further improve patented inventions, production or services based on them and profit from their sales and / or licensing to others.
The first use of the term refers to 1993 and the value of its somewhat different from the modern and the term refers to a company initiating aggressive patent lawsuits («When Intel Does not Sue», Forbes, March 29, 1993). First became widely known comic rendering of patent troll appeared in 1994. The promotional and educational film « The Patent Video », spreading among corporations, universities and government agencies.
Subsequently, the epithet has become popular due to Detkina Peter (Peter Detkin), former Deputy Chief Counsel of the company Intel, which used it against the company TechSearch LLC, its director, Anthony Brown (Anthony O.Brown) and her lawyer Raymond Niro (Raymond Niro) in connection with the sued by TechSearch. Detkina first used the term "patent extortionist» (patent extortionist) against companies sudivshihsya with Intel for patent infringement, but the company charges after Intel's libel he used the term « patent troll ». caught on the definition of steel used in the patent field to refer to any claimant who does not like the speaker. Strictly speaking, the modern definition of who is a patent troll, does not possess the accuracy and under it gets itself, Intel and many other companies and organizations, including educational and research institutions.
It is worth considering that the issue of patent trolling is not so unambiguous. Splash "Smartphone" patent wars in 2012 caused a lot of statements about the "coma" and "untimely death" of the American patent system. "Loud" things like confrontation Apple and Samsung, of course, attracted the public attention to the subject of patent wars, but they do not constitute a major problem. This happened before, it is enough to recall the "first telephone war" era of Alexander Graham Bell. In those years, only one American Bell Telephone Company and its successor of AT & T stood 587 patent disputes. So the generals "Smartphone wars" have much to learn from predecessors. Ultimately, the billion-dollar fine, giant otsuzhennye one another, will be "smeared a thin layer of" a billion users, and this no one has died. But hundreds of thousands of dollars a startup on the rise anyway have to pay the troll or the lawyers in the case of patent litigation, can greatly lick it, or even lead to the collapse. The cost of litigation associated with the trolling, in 2010 was 61 bln. dollars. trolls and activity increases. The ten most active plaintiffs in patent lawsuits for 2013 are patent trolls. Of the three leaders - ArrivalStar, Wynncom and Thermolife - each filed over a hundred lawsuits . This concern technological sector and receives response in the society - many it is clear that this must have something to do.
Opponents of this view указывают, that since the first patent law in 1790, in US law provides for the sale of patent rights, which are designed to contribute to both the US Patent Office and the courts. Sale of patent rights has always been an important factor in the US economy, as the main 'inventive force "America has always been independent inventors (now referred to as Non-Practicing Entities, NPE), did not have the financial capacity to turn its patents into new products. Documents of XIX century indicate that two-thirds of the 160 greatest inventors of the era of technological revolution, including Thomas Edison, were NPE. A report American Bell Telephone Company for 1894 indicated that it has acquired 73 patents from third parties against the inventor of 12 inventions made within the company.
US patent system has undergone significant changes in 2011, with the adoption of a package of amendments to the patent law known as America Invents Act , one of drivers who also had Patrick Leahy. Then change mainly concerned the definition of the principle of primacy in the invention and the opportunity to apply for a patent legal entity.
The своем handling the recall of the new bill Patrick Leahy said that the failure of this initiative suffered because interested parties have failed to reach an agreement on how to deal with trolling, which is the scourge of the US economy, without violating the legitimate interests of large employers and universities, and he expressed the hope that the parties concerned will be able to overcome differences and to debate the bill will be back soon.
Hopefully, lobbyists still find a compromise and US lawmakers will be able within a reasonable time to adopt the package of amendments to the patent law. We wish Patrick good luck!