DOJ/FTC workshop explores the impact of patent assertion entity activities

Patent assertion entities (PAEs) were at the center of a lively discussion on 10 December 2012 before an overflow crowd of senior antitrust enforcers, economists, practitioners, and industry players. PAEs are organizations whose business model is to acquire patents and license (or sue) practicing entities making products that read on those patents. The public workshop hosted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) focused on how PAEs affect innovation and competition, and what role the federal antitrust enforcement agencies should play in regulating the activities of PAEs. While the workshop did not resolve the question of what can or should be done to regulate PAE activities, nearly everyone agreed that PAE activity is an issue of increasing importance to the United States and likely to draw continued scrutiny of the DOJ and FTC in the years to come. In fact, one DOJ attorney noted that PAE issues were the topic of daily conversations at both agencies.

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