Patent Wars: No Simple Answers

Former head of the US patent office shares his views on the so-called mobile patent wars and proposes a sound approach to standards-essential patents.

When he was head of the US patent office from 2009 to 2013, David Kappos was concerned about reports of a mobile patent war fueled by poor-quality patents. So he did a little research.



"We found at the time the [number of mobile-related patent infringement suits] were in double digits, but not in hundreds, and more than 70% of the court decisions found the patents valid, but not infringed," he said in an interview with EE Times.

"We found there was no support for [the charge of] mobile patent wars attributable to low-quality patents," said Kappos, now a partner with the firm Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP.

The research took just one or two staff members a month or so of intermittent effort. It's the kind of work that's needed to bring clarity to a broad range of intellectual property issues as legislators once again debate patent reform, Kappos told us.

For example, some proponents of reform claim they are victims of royalty stacking when they must license multiple patents related to smartphones.

Read the rest of this story on EE Times.

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer