Vice President Evan Hoffman Schouten Discusses High-Tech Patents and Antitrust Issues in “Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal”
April 24, 2012
Analysis Group Vice President Evan Hoffman Schouten’s article in Bloomberg BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal explores the “uneasy alliance between intellectual property law and antitrust guidelines,” as a host of players in the technology industry seek to acquire patents from rivals. To avoid facing patent lawsuits, it appears that firms have become increasingly interested in augmenting their intellectual property portfolios through strategic acquisitions, Ms. Schouten explains in “The Great Patent Purchase” (April 6, 2012). She discusses the potential antitrust issues associated with this trend, citing two recent patent-driven transactions: Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Inc. for 17,000 patents, and Research in Motion Ltd.’s $4.5 billion bid for 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks, Inc.
As Ms. Schouten notes, regulators and key stakeholders have expressed concerns that firms holding patents deemed “essential” to the industry may engage in behaviors that could suppress innovation and drive up prices. Many companies have become increasingly aware of the importance of intellectual property to the success of their business plans and, as a result, the number of defensive acquisitions and lawsuits can be expected to grow, she says.
In an accompanying article, Vice President David Sosa explains why wireless carriers and content providers may also be inclined to resist efforts by technology patent owners to engage in anticompetitive behavior.
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