Mark Koffsky's article published in Slate on patent trolls and the Eleventh Amendment is posted here.
On June 4, 2013, the White House announced five executive orders and seven legislative recommendations "designed to protect innovators from frivolous litigation and ensure the highest-quality patents in our system." The executive orders are:
And the legislative recommendations are:
The White House also issued a report from the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers entitled Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation details the challenges posed by the patent system.
There will much discussion about these proposals in the months to come. What is clear is that the passage of the America Invents Act in 2011 was not the end of the patent reform debate for this generation.
This American Life, a wonderful weekly radio show returned to the patent system last week with the episode "When Patents Attack....Part Two!". The program includes interviews with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Detkin, both founders of Intellectual Ventures. Peter Detkin explains how he came up with now-famous term "patent troll" when he was at Intel (it was inspired by his daughter's toys) and the reporters attempt to track down information about East Texas patent-owning companies. The podcast also examines the litigation brought by Personal Audio LLC against Adam Carolla and the Discovery Channel’s podcasting arm. While the reporting has a decidedly anti-patent troll slant and tends to overly simplify some very complex issues, it is entertaining and worth a listen.
You can read the response of Intellectual Ventures to the podcast here.
There is a trademark dispute brewing the two beer companies Magic Hat and West Sixth. What makes this dispute unique is that it is being carried out in social media as much as the courts. Magic Hat (owner of the #9 logo on the right) accused the West Sixth logo (shown on the left) of trademark infringement in Federal court in Kentucky. In response, West Sixth launched a social media campaign directed at Magic Hat to win in the court of public opinion. West Sixth launched on on-line petition to ask Magic Hat to drop the lawsuit and stop "corporate bullying" and answered questions about the lawsuit on Reddit. West Sixth even invited Magic Hat to opine on which alternative logos would be non-infringing.
Magic Hat's response? A motion to stop West Sixth's campaign, which stated "in order to line its own pockets and promote its own brands, West Sixth set out to destroy the reputation and good will that Magic Hat has painstakingly built over the last two decades, all while portraying itself as the poor, unsophisticated victim of a trademark bully who could not get Magic Hat to return its calls. ... This carefully constructed smear campaign was cobbled together out of false statements, half-truths and misleading 'spin.'" Magic Hat complained that the campaign resulted in more than 75,000 insulting and abusive emails, negative comments on their Facebook page and pressure on Magic Hat's retail accounts to pull its beer from their taps and shelves.
My thanks to Amy Nowacoski, founder of Ginger Snap Works, for letting me know about this story.