Initiative offers companies a better way to fight costly, frivolous patent litigation

By Jessica Karmasek | Sep 3, 2015

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Patexia, a patent research platform powered by crowdsourcing, has launched a new initiative designed to help companies fight frivolous patent litigation.

“Crowdsourcing” is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

Founded in 2010, Patexia connects members -- who can join for free -- to a community of 10,000-plus global subject matter experts who can help them better assess, manage and monetize their intellectual property portfolios.

The company contends that by offering more reliable and in-depth IP research through crowdsourcing, it promotes efficiency and drives innovation.

Its new coalition funding initiative is in the same vein, allowing companies to get back to innovating rather devoting their resources to fighting frivolous litigation.

The company monitors new patent litigation across industries and when a frivolous case is filed, it immediately reaches out to the targeted companies to bring them together and form a defense coalition.

In the IP industry, bad actors routinely file patent lawsuits simultaneously targeting a large group of companies using the same patent. In many cases, these bad actors use low quality patents to try to force defendants to settle rather than face a lengthy and expensive litigation process.

Patexia, using certain crowdsourced patent analysis techniques, searches for “prior art” -- that is, information made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent’s claims of originality -- and partners with experienced legal counsel to take the case to the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board for an inter-partes review to hopefully eliminate the threat.

Through the company’s coalition funding initiative, companies share the burdens they would otherwise face alone.

Patexia stated Tuesday that those companies participating in a coalition contribute “as little as” $50,000 for a crowdsourced prior art search and the IPR.

“Going it alone, to fight patent litigation through IPR a company must pay $27,000 in PTAB filing fees alone (not including the attorney and expert fees),” the company noted. “Oftentimes, total litigation costs can spike into the millions.”

Patexia said companies no longer will feel the need to settle to avoid litigation costs.

“Companies can turn their resources back towards positive innovation, benefiting the economy, and low quality patents are removed from the system,” the company stated.

Patexia President and CEO Pedram Sameni has been touting the benefits of crowdsourcing to combat so-called patent “trolls” for months.

Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is considering using the method.

The PTO, in a posting in the Federal Register in November, requested comments and submitted a notice of a roundtable meeting on its use of crowdsourcing to identify relevant prior art for patent applications.

As part of the application process, patent examiners must search prior patents, scientific literature databases and other resources for prior art.

Then, an examiner reviews a patent application substantively to determine whether it complies with the legal requirements for granting of a patent: novelty, inventive step or non-obviousness, industrial application (or utility), and sufficiency of disclosure.

“The U.S. PTO wants to ensure that the best prior art is available to the examiner during examination,” the office stated in its posting last year.

“Because this information often resides with the technical and scientific community, crowdsourcing may be a promising way to uncover hard-to-find prior art, especially non-patent literature.”

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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