Can The FTC And DOJ Do What The USPTO Won't? Crack Down On Patent Trolls
from the that-would-be-something dept
While the US Patent Office has officially declared its desire to put its head in the sand concerning the problem of patent trolls, it appears that other parts of the government aren’t necessarily going to ignore the problem. The FTC and the DOJ are planning explore the issue with patent trolls at a public workshop next month (they use the currently popular term “patent assertion entities” rather than “patent trolls” but it’s clear what they mean). And the indications are that they may be looking to use their power to crackdown on bad behavior, potentially even using antitrust tools:
“There’s a possibility of competitive harm here,” said Joseph Wayland, who served as the Justice Department’s acting antitrust chief until last week, when he stepped down to return to private practice. Mr. Wayland said officials are devoting “huge energy, particularly at a senior level” to this and other antitrust issues surrounding patents.
This seems like a much more reasonable use of antitrust resources than some other recent activity.
Of course, the real irony here is the idea that the government may need to use its antitrust rules to crack down on patent abuse, when the whole reason that there’s a “trust” problem in the first place is that patents are a government granted monopoly. So no one should be shocked to then see it lead to antitrust problems. Want to not have monopolistic activity? Don’t hand out monopolies.