WASHINGTON (8/18/14)--The White House's Office of Management and Budget approved Friday the Federal Trade Commission request to launch a two-part study on "patent trolls."
The FTC study will request information from patent assertion entities, manufacturers and others. It will focus both on reviewing general patent troll activity and comparing trolls' enforcement efforts to that of manufacturers and other nonpracticing entities in the wireless chipset industry (Law360 Aug. 15).
The investigation will look at how patent assertion entities organize their corporate legal structure, what types of patents they hold, and how they acquire patents and generate revenue. It also will examine how the companies engage in licensing demands and litigation, what patent assertion costs the companies face and how much money they earn from their activities.
The Credit Union National Association has been a longtime advocate of meaningful patent reform. In July, the trade association submitted a joint letter supporting the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act that passed the House subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade (News Now July 14).
"Financial institutions of every size have been targeted by Patent Assertion Entities, often referred to as patent trolls, who in most cases assert patents of dubious quality through vaguely worded demand letters or intentionally vague complaints," the letter reads. "Indeed, patent trolls' recent focus on credit unions and community banks threatens to pose additional, unwarranted costs on lenders and the communities they serve."