Congress to Debate Patent-Related Sales Bans
Jul 11, 2012, 7:45 AM by Eric M. Zeman
Congress is prepared to discuss today the use of sales bans and/or injunctions against products that infringe on standards essential patents. The debate was sparked by the spate of lawsuits filed by smartphone makers requesting the bans and counter-complaints by others saying the standards essential patent holders are being unreasonable. The debate will focus on whether or not standards essential patent holders can request sales bans of infringing products. Motorola has used the tactic recently, seeking to block sales of competitors' devices. Companies that are subject to such bans argue that patent holders use the threat of injunctions to force unreasonable licensing terms, while the patent holders argue that the tactic is necessary to obtain licensing fees from non-compliant competitors. Standards essential patents are supposed to be licensed on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory basis. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are participating it today's discussion. It's not clear how soon congress might make a decision or ruling on the matter.
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