NorthStar Law Group
E-mail: email@example.com | Phone: (858) 800-2537
Address: 12636 High Bluff Drive, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92130
On March 26, 2015, NorthStar Law Group Founder, Jonathan Muenkel, spoke at the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section’s Spring Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. Jonathan was one of five panelists speaking on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent activity in the area of patent law, and potential changes to patent practice based on the High Court’s decisions.
Rave reviews were given by several of the over 100 audience members following the program on its comprehensive, and thought-provoking, content. On March 27th, a highly respected legal news publication, Law360, ran a story about the program, focusing specifically on comments from the Honorable Paul Michel (a program panelist and retired Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals), concerning the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent patent decisions, and what it means for businesses and patent practitioners going forward.
On March 24, 2015, Bryan Pate, CEO of NorthStar Law Group client, ElliptiGO, testified before Congress concerning pending legislation aimed at reforming certain aspects of U.S. patent law. One of only four witnesses who testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee, Mr. Pate stated that he supports efforts to end abusive patent litigation practices routinely utilized by “Patent Trolls” – patent holding companies that assert questionable patents against small businesses in the hopes of extracting quick settlements due to the high cost of litigation. However, Mr. Pate noted that the bill pending before the House will likely have unintended consequences against legitimate patent holders such as ElliptiGO and, in the end, do more harm than good.
Mr. Pate’s concerns about the pending legislation are shared by a coalition of companies in a variety of industries, as well as universities, inventors and venture capitalists. Pate’s concerns are further echoed by statements made by NorthStar Law Group Partner, Jonathan Muenkel, in two articles published in the San Diego Business Journal (on September 29, 2014 and November 3, 2014 – see below), and that focused more specifically on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent activities in effectively weakening U.S. patent rights to arguably curb abusive Patent Troll practices.
The bill at issue is known as the “Innovation Act” (H.R. 9), and was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 5, 2015. A similar bill, H.R. 3309, was passed in the House on December 5, 2013, but did not survive that Congressional session due to differences between the House and Senate on multiple provisions within the bill.
A link to video of the Congressional hearing and testimony can be found here.
In this San Diego Business Journal Special Report on Intellectual Property, Jonathan Muenkel is asked to comment on recent measures taken (most notably from the US Supreme Court) to reign in what many see as abusive tactics committed by “Patent Trolls” who seek to capitalize on the power of patent system. As Mr. Muenkel explains, the actions to curb these few bad actors will result in the unwanted affect of weakening the patent system as a whole.
The last few years have seen a tremendous uptick in the US Supreme Court’s interest in patent law. Indeed, in the 2013-2014 term, the High Court agreed to hear an unprecedented seven patent cases and issued unanimous decisions in six of them. This article reviews the patent cases heard by the Supreme Court within the last year, and provides practical tips and key takeaways for private practitioners and in-house counsel.
Patents are crucial to the growth and financial health of many San Diego businesses, large and small alike. Unfortunately, several recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, and growing public anti-patent sentiment based on the actions of a few bad actors, have weakened patent rights at a time when our economy needs all the help it can get to further its recovery. This article explains how patents are important to our economic well-being, and why patent rights have eroded over the years.