Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Project No. P131203 #00019

Submission Number:
Luke McDonagh
Cardiff University
Outside the United States
Initiative Name:
Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Project No. P131203
Matter Number:


Dear sir/madam, Along with some research colleagues, I have been involved in research on this issue in the United Kingdom. I believe this research is useful as comparative data for the current proposal to amend the US patent system. In our study we examined patent litigation at the London Patents Court from 2000-2010. In our research we found that NPEs were responsible for 11% of all patent suits filed in the U.K. during 2000-2010. Though this is a small percentage by U.S. standards, our study suggests that patent trolling might not be as uniquely American as conventional wisdom suggests. In our research we also found little support for many common explanations for Europe’s relative scarcity of NPE activity. For example, we discovered that NPEs litigating in the U.K. overwhelmingly assert high-tech patents – even more so, in fact, by proportion than their U.S. counterparts – despite higher barriers to software patentability in Europe. What is important for current US legal reforms is that our study supports fee-shifting as a key reason for the U.K.’s relative immunity to NPEs. We see evidence that the U.K.’s loser-pays legal regime deters NPEs from filing suit, while at the same time encouraging accused infringers to defend claims filed against them. U.K. NPE suits are initiated by potential infringers more often than by NPEs, rarely end in settlement, very rarely end in victory for NPEs, and thus, result in an attorney’s fee award to the potential infringer more often than a damages award or a settlement payment to the patentee. When taken together, these findings tend to support the patent reform bills pending in the U.S. that would implement a fee-shifting regime for patent suits, and may also serve to quell concerns that Europe’s forthcoming Unified Patent Court will draw NPEs to Europe. If you are interested the full paper is available for full download here: Warm regards, Dr Luke McDonagh Lecturer in law Cardiff University Law School