Patent Loophole Used to Stifle Competition
According to tech news site ArsTechnica,
Companies looking for a competitive edge over their rivals have in recent years been making use of a loophole found in US patent law. Normally, Company A will allege that Company B is importing a product that infringes its patent, at which point a court battle ensues, lawyers get rich, and so on. There exists a loophole, however, whereby Company A can also file an injunction with the International Trade Commission, who do not have to abide by a Supreme Court ruling that frowned upon sales injunctions. Obviously, this only works when Company B’s product is manufactured overseas and imported into the US, but thanks to globalization, that category is pretty vast. In these cases, the ITC can ban the importation of Company B’s product if it finds patent infringement.
Apparently, many patent-owners have been skirting the normal court procedure by going to the ITC. The loophole is often used against American companies, which undermines the whole protectionist point of such a bad policy. Given how common erroneous patent lawsuits are, Congress should close this competition-stifling loophole immediately.