- Address the imbalances between the cost of litigation discovery for PAE plaintiffs and defendants;
- provide the courts and defendants with more information about the plaintiffs that have filed infringement lawsuits;
- streamline multiple cases brought against defendants on the same theories of infringement; and
- provide sufficient notice of these infringement theories as courts continue to develop heightened pleading requirements for patent cases.
Study PAEs had diverse and heterogeneous data-keeping practices. As a result, the FTC does not report how much revenue PAEs shared with others, including independent inventors, or the costs of assertion activity. The FTC sought to evaluate the role of PAE activity in promoting patent monetization for inventors and innovation as part of its study. Towards that end, the FTC requested that Responding PAEs provide detailed data describing how they shared licensing revenue with outside parties and their costs of patent assertion. Responding PAEs used different methods to maintain information describing their revenue sharing and costs, however, which prevented any meaningful comparison of the degree of revenue sharing by PAEs or their assertion costs. For example, some Responding PAEs viewed payments to outside counsel as a cost of patent assertion, but others viewed such payments as revenue sharing (counsel often received a fixed proportion of licensing royalties). Moreover, the majority of Responding PAEs did not maintain information on assertion costs, and only a few Responding PAEs provided such data at either the Affiliate level or assertion campaign level. For these reasons, we did not analyze either the proportion of licensing revenue that they shared with outside parties, or the costs of patent assertion. Due to this limited data, this report does not address the efficiency of PAE business models. [emphasis added].
In addition, because more than 75% of the patents in the FTC’s sample likely include software-related claims, and because the FTC estimates that Study PAEs held more than 75% of all U.S. patents held by PAEs at the end of 2013, any change in PAE behavior with respect to software patents that results from Alice will likely have a significant impact on both the overall volume of PAE assertion and the types of technologies that PAEs assert.