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The Federal Trade Commission today announced the third in a series of public hearings exploring the evolving market for intellectual property (IP). These hearings, to be held March 18 and 19, 2009, in Washington, DC, will examine the operation of markets for IP and technology and the impact of patent policies on those markets. The Commission also announced that it has extended the period for submitting comments on topics raised in the hearings until May 15, 2009.

The March 18 hearing will explore how organizations and inventors from different industries use patents by enforcing exclusivity or licensing. The panels will discuss the effect of recent judicial decisions, uncertainty in the patent system and the notice function of patents on their decision-making. The hearing on March 19 will consider economic perspectives on IP and technology markets, and the role of notice and transparency in the IP marketplace. Herbert F. Schwartz, a distinguished intellectual property attorney, author, and educator, will deliver the keynote address on March 19. A hearing agenda is available on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release.

These hearings are part of an ongoing series of public hearings that will examine changes in patent law, patent-related business models, and new learning about the operation of the IP marketplace since the issuance in October 2003 of the Commission report on the patent system, “To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy.” The Commission held the initial hearing in the series on December 5, 2008. Hearings on remedies are being held February 11 and 12, 2009. The Commission plans to hold additional hearings on April 17, 2009, in Washington, DC, and on May 4 and 5, 2009, in Berkeley, California in cooperation with the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. An agenda for these hearings will be released shortly.

The Commission is seeking public comments on all issues to be discussed throughout the entire series of these hearings, and in response to any of the topics raised in the Federal Register notice announcing the hearings on the Evolving IP Marketplace. Comments must be received by May 15, 2009, and should refer to “Evolving IP Marketplace - P093900.” The Federal Register notice and information on how to submit written and electronic comments to the Commission are available at the web site for the hearings,

The FTC’s hearings on the Evolving IP Marketplace are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is helpful but not required. All attendees must present a valid photo ID for admission to the agency’s Satellite building, which is located at 601 New Jersey Ave., NW. The hearings will be accessible to people with disabilities. Anyone needing a related accommodation should contact Carrie McGlothlin at the FTC at 202-326-3388 or Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and contact information if more information is needed. Please provide advance notice of accommodation needs.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC ’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.


Contact Information

Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
Erika Meyers,
Bureau of Competition