Sovereign Patent Funds — A New Issue at the Nexus of International Trade and Intellectual Property

July 9, 2015

As U.S. policymakers debate how best to deal with the problem of abusive patent litigation, some other governments have decided to fight fire with fire by creating state-owned patent assertion entities. The phenomenon deserves more attention from policymakers in Washington, who are bound to play an important role in shaping international rules to regulate these government “patent trolls.” Known formally as sovereign patent funds, these public-private entities amass large patent portfolios they can use to help domestic companies—sometimes through litigation against foreign competitors. Is this policy a reasonable response to the difficulties many companies face managing patents in a global economy, or is it merely a new form of protectionist industrial policy? Come hear our expert panel discuss the peculiar complexities of this emerging issue.

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