Commentators, public officials, and scholars have sounded alarms over the smartphone patent wars—hundreds of cases asserting infringement of patents by makers of smartphones and tablet computers—often suggesting broad, categorical “fixes” to problems this litigation reveals. In general, these recommendations sweep too broadly, throwing out good claims as well as bad and needed remedies as well as questionable ones. However, calls for attention along two margins promise improvements. One factor, the identity of the enterprise asserting patent rights, already is being used by courts in considering appropriate patent infringement remedies, but its use needs to be refined. The other factor, patent quality—especially in software patents, where the existence of parallel schemes of intellectual property protection exacerbates quality problems—is even more critical to the way the system operates. Addressing the patent quality issue (which is distinct from patent clarity or patent notice) can do more than other reforms to reduce costs without reducing innovation incentives.
Cass, Ronald A..
Lessons from the Smartphone Wars: Patent Litigants, Patent Quality, and Software.
Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology.
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