For years, talk of patent litigation abuse has been limited to the purview of the Silicon Valley cognoscenti. Finally, the discussion is taking place at a national level. President Obama has just nominated Terrell McSweeny to fill the last vacancy on the five-member Federal Trade Commission. As Congress takes up the McSweeny nomination, and the commission considers new business, it is critical to keep the issue of patent trolling at the forefront. Our competitiveness as a nation depends on it.
"Patent assertion" or more colorfully "patent trolling" has exploded in the last few years. In a June 20 speech at the National Press Club, the Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez called for a broad investigation of patent assertion. This call for action followed the release of a White House report, along with a flurry of activity in Congress and at the state level, focused on patent trolls. These actions reflect mounting concern that patent trolling is damaging innovation and harming companies throughout the country, from major tech giants to small startups.
FTC Must Move Quickly Against Patent Trolls
Op-Ed by ROBIN FELDMAN
Published July 21, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle