Feeds

FTC boss promises probe into patent troll regulation

The wheels of government turn slowly

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The Federal Trade Commission will investigate the activities of patent assertion entities (more commonly known as patent trolls), chairwoman Edith Ramirez promised in a speech on Thursday.

"Flaws in the patent system," Ramirez said, mean that patent trolls now account for over 60 per cent of patent legal cases, and the situation needs an investigation to see if competitiveness and innovation are being harmed, she said at an event hosted by the Computer & Communications Industry Association and American Antitrust Institute

The investigation will be carried out under Section 6(b) of the FTC's charter, which allows for studies into industry matters by the organization. Ramirez said she wants to analysis the costs and benefits of the current patent system, and provide data that will help legislators who choose to deal with the issue.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) certainly wants just that. On Thursday has sent Ramirez an open letter calling for the agency to "aggressively pursue enforcement actions against patent trolls" on consumer-law grounds, and requesting a website be set up to inform small businesses of their rights against trolling.

"The situation is particularly egregious when a patent owner sends numerous demand letters threatening an infringement action without having made a reasonable inquiry into the claims, and therefore having no actual intent to file a civil action, for which the owner would be subject to sanctions," he wrote. "These letters are simply used to extract unwarranted payments."

Leahy said that he is planning to introduce legislation on the matter later this year, and President Obama has issued executive orders on the issue. Other legislators are also on the case, with the SHIELD Act looking promising in the House of Representatives.

El Reg wonders why the FTC is bothering to perform the study in the first place, however. There's plenty of academic research on the topic, and a cost/benefit analysis will undoubtedly show that trolls are costing businesses a small fortune while contributing nothing to the economy.

It's time to enact laws, not just study the problem. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.