PTAB, Patent Trolls, Bad Patents, and Data
Since the PTAB declared two of my Bunch O Balloons patents obvious in an institution decision earlier this year, I have visited with many lawmakers and officials to describe my ordeal: six (6) patents, one (1) notorious infringer, five (5) cases in district court, eight (8) appeals to the CAFC, four (4) preliminary injunctions, eight (8) PTAB petitions, four (4) trials instituted, and $18M in legal costs. This is just the beginning as we have not even gotten to trial yet.
There are two reactions that come from lawmakers and officials. The first reaction is from those that did not actively support the America Invents Act (AIA). They are appalled and incredulous that the PTAB is siding with infringers against the examiners and inventors. And they admit they are powerless because of both current patent legislation and the control of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) by interests much more powerful than inventors and voters.
The other reaction comes from those that created and supported the America Infringes Act. To their credit, they have begun to acknowledge the there have been some unintended consequences. But they quickly slip into the mantra that the PTAB is necessary to prevent trolls from asserting “bad patents” with frivolous lawsuits. Lawmakers and officials are now demanding that we inventors provide the data to prove that the PTAB is broken and that reforms will not result in trolls filing frivolous lawsuits with “bad patents.” Challenge accepted.
(This article first appeared on IPWatchDog)
Josh Malone quit his corporate job in 2006 to take his shot at the Inventor’s Dream. Eight years later, savings depleted and kids college unfunded, he took one last swing before trudging back to the corporate world. And hit a homerun with Bunch O Balloons.
Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation.