The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is moving forward with plans to study companies that are in the business of buying and asserting patents, otherwise known as Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). According to the agency, it plans to use the information to examine how PAEs do business and develop a better understanding of how they impact innovation and competition.

“Patents are key to innovation and competition, so it’s important for us to get a better understanding of how PAEs operate,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “We want to use our 6(b) authority to expand the empirical picture on the costs and benefits of PAE activity. What we learn will support informed policy decisions.”

Unlike prior studies of PAEs, the FTC highlights that it will be able to use its subpoena power to collect nonpublic information, such as licensing agreements, patent acquisition information, and cost and revenue data, which will provide a more complete picture of PAE activity.

The specific questions on the FTC radar include:

  • How do PAEs organize their corporate legal structure, including parent and subsidiary entities?
  • What types of patents do PAEs hold, and how do they organize their holdings?
  • How do PAEs acquire patents, and how do they compensate prior patent owners?
  • How do PAEs engage in assertion activity (i.e. demand, litigation, and licensing behavior)?
  • What does assertion activity cost PAEs?
  • What do PAEs earn through assertion activity?

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

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