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Antitrust Agencies Right to Expand Scrutiny of Patent Transfers and Acquisitions

One of the most complex and daunting challenges facing competition regulators is the evolving intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law. Given that both antitrust law and patent law seek to enhance consumer welfare and promote innovation, but do so through very different mechanisms, it is natural for regulators to struggle when harmonizing monopoly-granting patent law with competition-enforcing antitrust law.

Notwithstanding these hurdles, representatives from the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission, and the European Commission made it clear in a recent series of speeches that they intend to broaden their patent and competition focus to go bey [...]

Don’t Shoot the Samaritan

The patent wars have become a real drag on the economy. A recent study estimated that the direct cost of patent trolls, firms that use patents solely as a source of securing revenue from litigation, exceeded $29 billion. The real costs in litigation: delayed innovation and loss of consumer choice are even greater. Now, the U.S. Congress is taking notice. Just last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine the use of standard essential patents (SEPs) in claims before the International Trade Commission (ITC) and now the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on July 18.

After the Supreme Court put the brakes on some abuses of patent law in its 2006 eBay v. MercExch [...]

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