Friday, October 2, 2009

Patent Law

"Companies love to complain about liability lawyers who shop around for plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. But when then have a patent case to prosecute, they do the same thing. ... Microsoft says the verdict is flawed and vows to appeal, but the clock is ticking: The Tyler , Tex. judge gave the software giant just 60 days to remove the offending feature from Word or stop selling the program. ... The Eastern District's [Texas] so-called rocket docket 'gives defendants little opportunity to engage is discovery that might invalidate weak patents,' complains legal scholar Theodore Frank in an American Enterprise Institute paper. ... Many corporations, especially drug companies, like to sue in Texas. ... Judge Jon T. Ward of the Marshall court laughs when asked if it was appropriate for J&J to sue in the court it once argued against: 'Wghen I was defending patent cases in private practice, I used to argue against this venue myself'," Daniel Fisher at Forbes, 7 September 2009.

Is "discovery" the issue? If so, is it defendants' decreased ability to engage in discovery abuse to wear plaintiffs down?


Anonymous said...

What happens when the Supremes decide Bilski?

leading edge boomer said...

One type of lawsuit that has been flourishing in East Texas occurs when someone purchases a bankrupt company simply for some obscure patent that company holds but was never able to capitalize upon. The business has floursihed partly as a result of the success of tort reform in Texas; former PIA's (Personal Injury Attorneys) have reconstituted themselves as PIA's (Patent Infringment Attorneys).
Most cases (like most personal injury cases) are settled for five figures merely to avoid the expense and hassle of going to trial. However, once in a while a real nugget turns up that the anti-corporate courts in East Texas can turn into a huge windfall for the profiteers and their attorneys.
Just another example, among many, of people who add nothing to the productive economy getting rich.

Anonymous said...

A pstent is property. If penalties for intellectual theft are not severe, large corporates and unscrupulous small companies alike would run roughshod over intellectual property rights.

gatopeich said...

Patent system, as banking, probably costs more than it produces.

Anonymous said...

Patents can be protection against predator corporations.

And the patent system can cost more than it produces.

Both are likely true.

Anonymous said...

Whether for ideological reasons or just downright stupidity, LEB fail to see the single most important reason that picking up a bankrupt company's patents is useful: small companies could not get financed on the front end if there was no possibility of return on the back end.

Patents need to matter, whether practiced, as a means to get funding, or in the portfolio of some troll. Patents are what make it possible for the small guy to someday become the big guy.