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Do We See The Emergence Of “Patent Left”?

Guillaume Ménage

France Telecom, Senior Intellectual Property Counsel, Paris, France

Yann Dietrich

Areva T&D, Intellectual Property Legal Director, Paris, France

Mark Chandler, General Counsel of Cisco, indicated in his recent testimony to the United States Congress that “a recent survey of leading technology companies shows that since 2004, licensing requests have increased approximately 650 percent.” He added further that “prior to 1990 there had only been one patent damages award in history larger than $100 million: in the past seven years, there have been at least fifteen judgments and settlements in that category, and at least five that topped $500 million.”

Furthermore, with respect specifically to the ICT industry and the emergence of Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs), David Simon, Chief Patent Counsel of Intel stated in his testimony that, in his view, “Patent law today provides an economic disincentive to innovation in the technology industries, precisely the opposite of what it is supposed to do.”

Indeed, there is growing tension today between companies seeking to monetize their patents and others more concerned about their freedom to innovate, with both concerns possibly existing within companies with business groups having divergent interests.

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