Category: Court Decisions
Thanks to trolls like IPNav, the Times explains, U.S. companies are forced to spend upwards of $30 billion every year on patent litigation. Most of that money goes to troll profits and legal expenses, with less than 25 percent flowing to inventors. Even Spangenberg concedes that his business uses “the courts as a marketplace, and the courts are horribly inefficient and horribly expensive as a market.” Patent trolls like IPNav are a symptom of a fundamentally broken system.
There is debate about the definition of patent trolls, but the term broadly refers to people who sue companies for infringement, often using patents of dubious value or questionable relevance, and then hold on like a terrier until they get license fees. In recent years, patent trolls — they prefer “patent assertion entities,” or P.A.E.’s — have gone from low-profile corporate migraine to mainstream scourge. This is partly because the number of patent infringement suits has more than doubled in recent years, to 4,731 cases in 2012 from 2,304 in 2009, according to that RPX report. The cost to businesses, which pass along the expense to consumers, is immense. One study found that United States companies — most of them small or medium-sized — spent $29 billion in 2011 on patent assertion cases.
What I just learned from Harper’s Index from the August 2013 issue of Harpers: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear only 1% of all Petitions for Certiorari filed over the past three years. But, if the U.S. Chamber of Commerce files an amicus brief, there is a 32% chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear that case.
Those attorneys for the Chamber must be excellent brief writers . . .
In his recent detailed article published in The New Republic, “The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia,” Judge Richard Posner has taken United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s theory of textual originalism to task. Yes, this article presents an extended series of technical legal analyses, but it is written in a way that many lay readers can appreciate. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand the repeated protestations by Justice Scalia that when he rules on case, he is doing so by rigorously paying attention to the actual words of enacted laws. [More . . . ]
Join EFF and the Public Participation Project in calling on Congress to support the PETITION Act, strong federal anti-SLAPP legislation. The concept is simple: when a blogger faces a legal threat for legitimate online content, she can file a motion to get the case dismissed quickly. If the case is found to be frivolous in court, she won’t have to pay the legal fees.”
Here is discussion of a meritless suit against Matthew Inman that illustrates the need for such a law.
More than 180,000 Missouri Citizens signed petitions to allow Missourians to vote to put a cap (of 36%) on payday loans and other small consumer loans this coming November. Here is some background information on the ballot initiative. But then the predatory loan industry lawyered up, bringing multiple suits to throw out all of the signatures in an attempt to destroy this ballot initiative.
Today, John Campbell and I traveled to Jefferson City to participate in an afternoon of oral arguments before the packed courtroom of the Missouri Supreme Court. John and I (we both work with The Simon Law Firm in St. Louis) also helped to write an appellate brief on behalf of those who seek to allow Missouri voters to decide this critically important issue this November. There was lively argument before an attentive court on numerous contentious issues drummed up by the predatory loan industry. We expect a ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court within the next month on this issue. It is our hope that the Court will rule that Missouri citizens will have the final say on whether loans that currently run from 300% – 500% will be capped at no more than 36%. This is critically important because these loans are currently dangerous products that trap consumers in long-term debt, and drive many people into foreclosures and bankruptcy. For many decades, Missouri did fine without loan-shark rate interest rates, and it’s time to make things right. Stay tuned.
If you want more detail, all of the appellate briefs can be read at the site of the Missouri Supreme Court.