Yesterday, CCIA and The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) hosted an event titled “Competition Law & Patent Assertion Entities: What Antitrust Enforcers can do.” The keynote speaker was FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who began the event by highlighting problems with PAEs, and suggesting that the FTC might soon engage in a 6(b) study to determine the effects of PAEs on the economy.
Chairwoman Ramirez then turned the microphone over to CCIA’s president and CEO, Ed Black, who led an informative panel discussion. The panelists came from various sectors and backgrounds and all offered different views on the PAE problem.
Lisa Kimmel of the FTC and Frances Marshall of the DOJ gave their views on the government’s position, while Paul Saraceni of RPX represented the private sector and offered one market solution to the problem. Bert Foer spoke on behalf of AAI, and suggested seven policies that would help curb patent litigation abuse, and professor Michael Carrier offered an academic approach that explored the legal options available to enforcement agencies.
These experts each brought different perspectives on the problem of PAEs, but a few themes remained steady throughout the discussion. All the panelists acknowledged that more information on the topic was necessary, but indicated that PAEs, or “patent trolls,” likely pose a real problem for the American economy. Because our knowledge is sparse on the issue, they agreed that 6(b) study would certainly prove a useful vehicle for obtaining necessary information. The panelists also echoed the Chairwoman’s sentiment that each case must be taken on an individual basis and “market power will likely be key” in evaluating antitrust violations.
While approaches varied, the event proved successful in raising awareness of the issue, which the White House has also addressed in recent statements. CCIA is encouraged by the focus that this important issue is getting from the FTC, the DOJ, and the media, and it looks forward to future developments that will help curb the growing problem of patent assertion entities in the United States.