William Watkins Archive

William J. Watkins Jr. is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Patent Trolls Still Alive and Kicking



Over at Techdirt, there is a good story up on how a patent troll attacked a startup and the litigation costs so distressed the startup that it was forced to sell out to another patent troll. Peter Braxton created Jump Rope Inc., and developed an app that allows users to pay a fee to…
Read More »

Shifting from Quantity to Quality in Patent Applications



VentureBeat has published a good piece on how “innovators are now moving away from creating untargeted, mass-produced innovations that aim only to secure as many patents as possible, and they’re moving toward precise innovation centered around specific product and market needs.” The American patent system has long been suffering the consequences of the issuance of…
Read More »

Patent Trolls Suffer Setback



It is always good news to hear about a patent troll taking one on the chin. According to this article from the BBC, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has invalidated parts of a patent claimed by Personal Audio. The patent at issue claimed all rights on “a system for disseminating media content representing…
Read More »

Republicans Split over Patent Reform



The Washington Times has an interesting article on the division among Republicans on patent reform. According to the article: Two dozen prominent conservative political groups, led by the influential American Conservative Union, the Club for Growth and the Eagle Forum, sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch…
Read More »

New Study Links Patent Trolls to Decline in R&D Spending and Other Ills



A new paper (“Patent Trolls: Evidence from Targeted Firms”) written by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Texas offers more evidence of the harm that patent trolls cause to the American economy. The data show that (1) trolls target companies flush with cash, (2) seek targets likely to settle rather than litigate, and (3)…
Read More »

Tech Companies Work to Tame Patent Trolls without Government Help



In the wake of Congress failing to pass patent litigation reform this year, the private sector has gotten into gear and has taken matters into its own hands. Tech companies have formed LOTNet. This article from Motherboard sums up this new idea: As they say, if you can’t go through, go around. Enter the License…
Read More »

SCOTUS Affirms That Abstract Ideas Are Not Patent-Eligible



It is no secret that innovation suffers because of the current state of patent law. Too many overly broad patents are issued and present patent trolls with the opportunity to sue, sue, and sue again. Today, the High Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, made abundantly clear that abstract ideas are not patentable….
Read More »

Patent Troll Hit with Legal Fees



The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good post up on how the patent troll Lumen View just got hit with a fee award in federal court. This is in part because of recent Supreme Court decisions making it easier for defendants to collect attorney’s fees when they win patent suits. The troll’s patent was but a description…
Read More »

Big Pharma, Trial Lawyers, and Harry Reid Kill Patent Reform



Now that the smoke has cleared after the collapse of efforts to push patent litigation reform legislation through Congress, pundits are busy discussing just what happened. The President and members of both parties agreed that some reform was necessary. Reform legislation seemed to be a sure thing. Sources close to the negotiations on reform indicate…
Read More »

Patent Trolls and Trial Lawyers Thwart Patent Reform



Time reports that Sen. Pat Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has pulled the patent reform legislation from the Senate’s agenda. Here is a snippet from the article: Needless to say, trial lawyers are among the groups that benefit the most from rampant patent litigation. Engine Advocacy, a non-profit group that works…
Read More »

  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org