17 Nov
2015

Some questions about the US patent market in search of answers at today's PLAP event in DC

Later today – at 9.30 am EST – the inaugural Patent Law & Policy conference gets underway at the Ronald Reagan Centre in Washington DC. Organised by IAM, with a programme and speaking faculty put together by our North America editor Richard Lloyd, the event will explore how recent legislative, judicial and regulatory developments in the United States have affected the patent monetisation landscape there from the perspective of rights owners, investors and the legal profession. Although as a publication we are unashamedly pro-patent and concerned about what we see as a dangerous diminution of the rights of patent owners in the US, we have been careful to assemble panels that reflect the full range of views in the on-going debate, guided by the principles that it is always best to talk and that no side has a monopoly on wisdom.

During the course of the day, I am hoping to get some detailed insights into many of the key questions facing those doing patent-based transactions in the US:

  • What is the current state of play with regards to legislative patent reform? Is it a dead duck in this Congress or might it be revived once more early next year?

  • To what extent has the PTAB changed the rules of the litigation game? Does the patent death squad really exist, or is the regime more benign than its detractors claim?

  • How much of a game-changer has Alice been? Does the decision spell the end for all business method and a large number of software patents, how far has it hamstrung patent monetisation programmes and what effect has it had on the value of corporate patent portfolios?

  • Has the pendulum swung completely in favour of licensees/infringers, or is it still possible to build a meaningful and successful licensing programme in the US?

  • Is there any likelihood of the pendulum beginning to swing back any time soon and, if so, to what degree? What should we look for to know it is happening?

  • Have patent values gone as low as they ever will or is there room for further falls?

  • Has the investment community lost interest in patents or does it still opportunities with them? If so, what are they?

  • Overall, is it really as bad as some people say or is the doom and gloom overdone?

My general sense, before this event gets underway, is that things are pretty dire right now in the US patent market and that although there may be a few tentative signs that the bottom has been reached, there are precious few indications that the situation is going to improve dramatically any time soon. Perhaps by the end of the day, I will find out that I am completely wrong. I very much hope so.

If you are not able to join us today, you can follow the action via the IAM Twitter account @IAM_magazine and the hashtag #PLAP15. And, of course, there’ll be plenty of reflection about what was discussed on this blog later in the week. It will not be dull, that is for sure.   

Joff Wild

Author | Editor-in-chief

[email protected]

Joff Wild