Friday, November 18, 2011

Patent Lawsuits Might Decline Under New Rules

The explosion of umber of mobile handset patent lawsuits in U.S. courts went from 24 cases in 2006 to 84 in 2010, said David McDonald, an attorney at K&L Gates. It might be argued that the number of lawsuits has climbed because companies and people profit from such lawsuits. But the volume of such suits already is pinching the legal system in a purely logistical sense, and that is leading to changes that will undercut the profit motive for filing many cases.

That is not to say it is easy to design a mobile device without possibly using intellectual property of an astounding quantity. "Today, it's a lot more complex to resolve the IP gap between what you own and what you need," said Mario Obeidat, head of licensing for telecommunications at Intellectual Ventures, a company that primarily acquires patents and earns revenue by licensing them.

A mobile phone today requires 70,000 to 100,000 patents, he said. Spike in Mobile Lawsuits Spurs Changes

Among some of the changes, the U.S. International Trade Commission now can require litigants to   submit information regarding the impact of a case on the public interest. The new rule will also allow more public comment on the potential public impact of cases before the ITC. Such submissions could allow the ITC to decide against considering some cases if it finds that they are unlikely to have much impact on the public.

With potentially less incentive, fewer lawsuits are likely to be filed. 

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