back to article US trade commish kicks off patent-troll-nixing plan

The US International Trade Commission has kicked off a pilot scheme to rein in the glut of intellectual property claims from patent trolls. The ITC said that it will soon require complaining firms to prove upfront that they have any actual business in the States before pursuing their case. The commission has become a popular …

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Meh

Pointless?

Almost every tech company has a signifcant presence in the US market, so I can't see this being much of a barrier. Unless of course, there's some proportion of income test specifically set to try and stop not patent trolls in general, but foreign companies in particular from pursuing infringement cases. Which seems rather more likely, given both the largely domestic nature of pure patent trolling in US courts, and the names of the companies backing this.

A simpler fix for patent trolling would have been to make losing companies pay the other side's costs, and to stop the plaintiff's from pocketing vast "punitive" damages. If the Yanks want punitive damages, by all means let them have them, but pass the punitive element back to the Feds, instead of incentivising the patent trolls with a system that has few risks in initiating legal trolling, and big upsides.

But why fix the real problem, when you could pander to the corporations that will fund your election campaign?

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Re: Pointless?

It may however stop the troll companies pushing profits to offshore tax havens. at least if they want any bargining power in the ITC.

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Re: Pointless?

So nowt to do with stopping patent trolls and everything to do with making sure only US companies can patent troll on US soil, and only if US.gov gets a slice of the pie?

If so, I wouldn't call it unexpected.

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FAIL

Re: Pointless?

Your provincialism is so quaint.

There's more to international trade than "tech". As a matter of fact, "tech" isn't even the dominant part of international trade. Here's a new word for you: Commodities.

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They don't need to offshore

Just move the head office to Delaware.

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Re: Pointless?

This hints that the Commission will look at claimants being an actual tech company, and not a shell corporation with a (usually vacant) leased office in Texas, whose income is from avoid-the-lawsuit payments.

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Re: hints that the Commission will look at claimants being an actual tech company,

No it doesn't. It looks exactly the way M Gale responded. And I'm one of those knuckle draggin 'Merkins who collects lots of downvotes on this site.

My hypothetical example would be:

Suppose a Brit (we'll call him Mr. Smithe) has an idea as he's sitting in traffic on his commute home from London that improves some element of our communications network. Even though he works as a gardener he works on it, proves it works, and starts to license it. Then Apple (chosen because neither MS nor Google actually manufacture phones) decides to incorporate that improvement in their phones. Since Mr. Smithe doesn't have any commercial interests in the US, he won't be able to sue. And given this scenario, he should damn well be able to sue. I wouldn't begrudge him punitive damages either.

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Pirate

Re: Pointless?

It is aimed at NPE's Non Practicing Entities. Trolls whose only business is litigation, and 'Privateers' Non Practicing Entities whose patents are given to them by real technology companies so they can harass competitors.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pointless?

Almost every tech company has a signifcant presence in the US market...

That has to be one of the most spectacularly naive pieces of commentardery I've ever seen. I think it'd have made even the late Eadon (RIP) blush!

I can immediately think of MANY such companies in SE Asia and some in Europe. I even personally own products from companies which I know have never made any of their wares available in the US. In fact I suspect there's real appeal in deliberately avoiding the legal morass that is the USPTO market. I wouldn't be surprised if that FACT was the significant motivation behind this move to construct a two track patent system. It'll be shenanigans as usual for (good ol') US corporations but (evil) foreign companies which don't want to enter the USPTO-fucked market but need to defend perfectly legitimate patents from infringement within the US will have their cases singled out for special slow-lane treatment.

Can't see any other purpose to this plan whatsoever. Protectionism as usual.

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@Tom 13 Re: hints that the Commission will look at claimants being an actual tech company,

In your scenario, Mr. Smythe couldn't complain to the ITC but he can still sue in the US courts.

That seems reasonable: the ITC process should be about stopping unfair impact on the US home markets by imports which will be later declared illegal. Personally I don't think it should extend to patents at all, but I have no problem with it being restricted to use by US companies selling real products in the US market. And I am a Brit!

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FAIL

Re: Pointless?@ The Man Who Wasn't Paying Attention

"As a matter of fact, "tech" isn't even the dominant part of international trade. Here's a new word for you: Commodities."

Which bit about the article concerned commodities? Explain how patent trolling is a big problem in the world of grain, iron ore, and soya beans?

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Re: Pointless?

the late Eadon (RIP)

Well holy pants. Now I'm curious. I want to know what he did that managed to get him turned into an unperson here. Opinionated perhaps, but.. dayum.

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Anonymous Coward

time to move

to new, unchartered waters boys, ahoy

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Q&A session a.k.a the whitewash

Q: Do you have a business in the USA?

A: Yes

Q: What sort of business?

A: Employing a phalanx of Lawyers to sue people and business who we think are evading payment to us in respect of the patents we hold.

Result

:That's ok then. As you are providing employment to many impoverished and close to the breadline lawyers you may continue.

Pah. Fails again. LAwyers will never vote to stop the businesses of their bretheren no matter how corrupt they may be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Q&A session a.k.a the whitewash

upvote as you are right, not because the "Result" is right.

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It's a step

It may not be the right step, maybe it isn't even a step in the right direction, but it's a step with the stated goal of preventing trolling firms from being able to troll.

And for that, I say Hallelujah !

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