On June 4, the White House released a Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation Report, which cites the work of UC Hastings Professor Robin Feldman. Feldman's study found that nearly 60% of all patents are filed by "patent monetization entities," more commonly known as "patent trolls."
Widely regarded as a major problem in the U.S. patent law system, "patent trolls" are entities whose primary focus is deriving income from licensing and litigating patents. This new study analyzes data from five years' worth of patent litigation and concludes that patent trolls are indeed a significant obstacle to a well-functioning patent law system.
"The America Invents Act 500 Expanded: Effects of Patent Monetization Entities on US Litigation" is now publicly available.
This revelatory article confirms in dramatic fashion what many scholars and commentators have long suspected: patent monetization entities play a dominant role in a substantial portion of patent lawsuits filed today. The sheer number of cases has increased in recent years, as well as the percentage of overall case filings represented by patent trolls, rising from 22% of cases filed five years ago to almost 40% of cases filed last year. Further, because the study only looked at lawsuits filed, the wealth of cases that settle before trial compound the magnitude of the impact that patent trolls have on the patent system, and on the economy as a whole.
Professor Robin Feldman's work is widely regarded as some of the most influential scholarship in the field of patent law. She offered significant commentary to multiple media outlets during the Apple v. Samsung patent lawsuit and its recent groundbreaking decision. Her latest book, Rethinking Patent Law, was published by Harvard University Press in 2012 and explains patent bargaining. Professor Feldman's 2012 article on patent mass aggregators has received rave reviews. ("The Giants Among Us," 2012 Stanford Technology Law Review 1, with Tom Ewing.) One reviewer called it "one of the most important contributions to the debate about NPEs, patent aggregators and the state of the US patent marketplace," another called it "an absolutely remarkable study," and another called it "superb." Other articles by Professor Feldman have appeared in prestigious journals at Georgetown, Stanford, Texas, USC, UCLA and Virginia law schools, as well as in The New England Journal of Medicine.
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