Michael Sacksteder, chair of the patent litigation group at Fenwick, spoke with Law360 about the prospective impact of new federal initiatives intended to crack down on patent trolls, or non-practicing entities.
While improved training for patent examiners and a greater focus on prior art could reduce the number of dubious patents that are issued to, or abused by, patent holding companies, "there will be a significant time lag," said Sacksteder.
"There will be a positive impact, but it won't be earthshaking," he added. Given the length of time between the application for and issuance of a typical U.S. patent, "this isn't going to cause a decrease in the number of troll cases that are filed next year."
However, if efforts to “crowdsource” prior art and provide patent examiners with additional technology training are successful in improving patent quality, these measures would have an "incremental effect" that may lead to more strong patents and fewer weak patents being issued down the road, Sacksteder told Law360.
"Patents that are being issued and wielded by patent trolls may not issue," he added.
The full article is available through the Law360 website (subscription required).