Below is an excerpt and link to my most recent story, on patent-holding company Saxon Innovations' complaint filed at the International Trade Commission, published earlier this week on The AmLaw Daily. The AmLaw Daily also has a link to the Saxon complaint.
Each year a growing number of IP lawyers heads to the International Trade Commission, asking officials there to enforce Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. That Depression-era law forbids various "unfair trade practices," including the importation of products that infringe a U.S. patent--the goal is protecting domestic industries and jobs.
But a new complaint brought by a Texas patent-holding company is looking to stretch the boundaries of what constitutes a "domestic industry" worthy of protection.
Last month, Saxon Innovations LLC filed a complaint asking the ITC to ban importation of six models of cell phones manufactured by Nokia Corp., HTC Corp., Research in Motion, Inc., and Palm, Inc., as well as a television controller created by Panasonic Corp. Saxon argues the devices infringe three of the 180 patents it bought from a spin-off of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., in 2007. Saxon isn't the first patent-licensing operation to file a complaint at the ITC, but a few factors make it stand out even in that small group.
What would the Commission be protecting by issuing an exclusion order on behalf of Saxon? The "industry" begins and ends with Saxon, a company that fits neatly within the definition of what some patent reform advocates call a "patent troll”: five employees, no products or services, a growing trail of litigation, and a leased office in the Eastern District of Texas, a popular venue with patent plaintiffs.