FTC Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Patent Assertion Entity Study

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
November 27, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the deadline for public comments on its proposed study of patent assertion entities (PAEs) until Monday, December 16, 2013.

The study would seek information from roughly 25 companies whose business model relies primarily on buying and selling patents, and asserting patents through licensing and enforcement. The information is intended to help the agency better understand the impact of patent assertion entities on innovation and competition. The FTC also intends to send information requests to an additional 15 patent assertion entities and other entities asserting patents in the wireless communications sector.

The FTC states that the study will seek information relevant to the following questions:

  • How do PAEs organize their corporate legal structure, including parent and subsidiary entities?
  • What types of patents do PAEs hold, and how do they organize their holdings?
  • How do PAEs acquire patents, and how do they compensate prior patent owners?
  • How do PAEs engage in assertion activity (i.e. demand, litigation, and licensing behavior)?
  • What does assertion activity cost PAEs?; and
  • What do PAEs earn through assertion activity?

The FTC’s proposed Section 6(b) study was recommended by panelists during the Patent Assertion Entity Activities Workshop, jointly sponsored by the FTC and U.S. Department of Justice in December 2012.

Public comments can be submitted on the FTC website.