FTC Plans To Closely Investigate 25 Patent Trolls To Learn More About Trolling
from the should-be-interesting dept
Never let it be said that the FTC moves particularly fast. After putting patent trolls on notice back in 2011, it finally announced plans to investigate trolls in June of this year. And now it's revealed a few details of its plans, starting with using its subpoena powers to look into the details of 25 (unnamed) trolling operations. Of course, so far this investigation is just to produce a "study" of patent trolling. Though, as it points out, the FTC's powers mean it can get information that regular researchers don't have access to:
The proposed study would add significantly to the existing literature and evidence on PAE behavior. Earlier studies have focused primarily on publicly available litigation data and concluded that PAE litigation activity is on the rise. The Commission, however, has unique Congressional authority 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.It has an initial list of research questions that it will explore:
- 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?; and
- What do PAEs earn through assertion activity?