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US Patent Office and Department of Justice Release Statement Concerning Injunctions Against Products

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Although the patent wars seem to have quieted as of late, a few months back you couldn’t escape the news of one company suing the other for infringement. Cries that the American patent system was a broken one came from all sides, but now the people that run the system have released their own comment on the subject. The Department of Justice and US Patent Office released a joint statement today on product bans due to patent claims and it was surprisingly light. 

Only 10 pages long, the statement doesn’t go too harshly on anyone or name any names. It does however deliver the message that having an injunction against a product and taking it off the shelves isn’t always the best idea. “The DOJ and USPTO are concerned about the potential impact of exclusion orders on the ‘competitive conditions in the United States.’” The statement makes it clear that exclusion orders (bans) on products are necessary in some cases, but also that “depending on the facts of individual cases, the public interest may preclude the issuance of an exclusion order.

The statement lays out a few clear situations in which an exclusion order would be the best choice of action, but they also leave enough wiggle room in the term “public interest” for courts to have the power to make some decisions. To keep them reigned in though, near the end of the statement they say “these public interest factors are not meant to be given mere lip service,” but rather “public health and welfare and the assurance of competitive conditions in the United States economy must be the overriding considerations.” Basically, judges can’t use the “public interest” bit to deny a ban if there aren’t serious reasons why they shouldn’t.

This seems to be a step in the right direction, and a step from some people pretty high up in the government. Do you think this will help with the patent wars that are still raging around the country?

Via: The Verge

  • Jim Vitatoe

    By the time the lawyers get finished interrupting it, it won’t matter what they (DOJ and USPTO) meant. It will have an all new meaning.

  • Droid800

    What this article failed to elucidate (seemingly intentionally) is that this statement ONLY concerned injunctions for standard essential patents. It has no bearing whatsoever on apple seeking injunctions for design and utility patents.

  • Larizard

    Would be nice if they acknowledged their own mistakes in handing out software patents. I know, these are experts and I’m sure they did some research, but the fact that multiple Apple patents are now up for review, just means that there is something to be said about the examiners who hand out these vague patents.

    Nonetheless, a statement (joint with the DOJ, no less) like this means things are shaking up.

  • nightscout13

    About fucken time!

  • Butters619

    Apple’s import ban on the One X was complete bullsh*t. HTC had already changed the software and Apple still went ahead with it. Clearly that had a major impact on HTC.

  • summit1986

    When will they stop issuing patents for random BS?

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

      This is one of a few MAJOR changes that need to happen!

  • TheWenger

    But Steve Jobs doesn’t want Android users to be happy.

    • Daistaar

      Steve Jobs doesn’t anything anymore… Hate to be the bearer of bad news… Who am I kidding… I LOVE IT!

      • Nardo

        Don’t spoil it for him, wait until the movie comes out….lol

        • Doan

          ha

  • Trevor Clement

    Apple is falling behind and Karma is a bitch… stay tuned.

  • jb

    My guess is the serious aspects of their press release pertain more to products like generic medications and other potentially life saving products – not phones. Phones aren’t necessities and the USPTO would probably laugh at a reporter asking questions pertaining to them in regards to this press release.

    • Droidzilla

      Phones represent a multi-billion dollar industry in the US. They are very far from irrelevant, and the USPTO knows this.

      • jb

        Never said they were “irrelevant”. Just said they’re not necessities. And they’re CERTAINLY far from “public health and welfare” which is what this press release focused on.

        • Droidzilla

          The language used was, “public health and welfare and the assurance of competitive conditions in the United States economy must be the overriding considerations.” Phones definitely fall within the competition portion.

          If you read the actual press release, it sounds almost targeted at tech concerns (though almost exclusively dealing with FRAND):
          http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/guidelines/290994.pdf

          • michael arazan

            Nice, and ty for the link

        • http://Facebook.com/jooski JooSki

          Well apparently they are a necessity since my tax money goes to give people that “cant afford” them a free one on my dime….

  • up2Bkrzy

    Wont do a dam thing. Corp america does not think about the public all they give a crap about is profits and stiffing the competition

    • Michael Quinlan

      I agree – it won’t accomplish anything, especially if they keep issuing patents for things that aren’t deserving.

  • MikeSaver

    F*ck Apple!!

    • Doan

      If you’re going to trash talk, at least throw in some valuable sustenance.

      • LiterofCola

        I think he pretty much did in those two words.

        • Doan

          His type of comments only make Android fans look immature. If you want that label, then, by all means, support him.

      • You are retarded

        Perhaps you mean substance, genius

        • Doan

          Sustenance, as in something to feed off of. Something of worth to keep the conversation afloat. When you assume, and you’re wrong, you make yourself look like a fool. Trying to be condescending amplifies your foolishness even further.

          Go figure, this guy posts anonymously.