Story on the Main Page About Preemption of State “anti-troll” Laws

The link is here.  I wrote an article about the ethical obligations of lawyers representing NPEs, and their opposing counsel, here.  And, I've co-authored a NYT Op-ed about the issue, here.  I've also represented manufacturers, "trolls," and individual inventors in litigation.

This was pretty predictable:  there's federal law governing patents, and it is going to preempt most, if not all, state laws attempting to impinge upon the patent owner's rights.  The last thing we're going to have is state courts deciding what patent claims, in live enforceable patents, mean.  That is my prediction, at least.

About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.

14 thoughts on “Story on the Main Page About Preemption of State “anti-troll” Laws

  1. 12

    Excellent point, anon. But (a)(1) is satisfied if all parties are related to each other by a“same making.” Assume a product is made by one party and sold to all. I think the common making of the products might be enough.

    But you do have to have a link to a common source, or some joint enterprise among the accused.

    In the Nebraska case, we don’t know enough about the infringing displays to understand whether they are all made by a common manufacturer.

  2. 10

    Anon, I am suggesting a suit in District Court.

    Regarding the AIA, it does not eliminate suits against multiple infringers who are related to each other by a common question of fact. See, 299(a)(2). Thus a lawsuit against all infringers whose infringement is caused by use of a particular apparatus or chemical or the like made by a specific company should be possible.

  3. 9

    Sorry Ned – review the AIA, as even what you say here no longer suffices.

    (plus, you are not dealing with the fact that Congress acted to make this a Federal matter, removing it from state AG hands)

  4. 7

    I don’t think buying from one company saves you under the AIA for the same reason that the manufacturer does not have standing: alternative non-infringing uses.

    This only further goes to show that the States are meddling in a Federal matter, as Congress has provided a very powerful indicator that joinder is preempted by the Federal concern.

  5. 6

    Anon, not if they all infringe or not infringe for the same reason, such as they all buy their equipment from one company.

    But, otherwise, if the only commonality is the patent, then I agree, their may be a problem.

    But I think the AG still might have jurisdiction to bring a class action on invalidity, if not infringement.

  6. 4

    David, does the state have standing to file a DJ action in Federal Court on behalf of accused business that they do not infringe or that the patent is invalid? This would be in the nature of a class action and I think the court would then assume control of all further notices to state infringers.

  7. 1

    I agree.

    I see nothing in the Nebraska Revised Statute 87-303 to allow the state AG to make a demand that any and all patent enforcement activities must cease.

    6 words: Riding frenzied misconceptions: Law becomes lawlessness.

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