Big Patent Holders & Big Patent Law Firms Bring Judges To Belgium For Boondoggle…

from the conflict of interest? dept

Capitalist Lion Tamer points us to the troubling news that an organization of patent holders has organized a conference and is flying in a bunch of judges who deal with patent issues from around the globe to hang out with them at a conference for a few days. As Kevin Outterson notes, this seems like a major conflict of interest:


Does anyone see a conflict of interest when the world?s richest patent owners fly judges from all over the world to a 3-day conference in Brussels?  Here’s the lede:

Bringing nearly 100 judges from more than 30 countries to Europe.  Sharing experiences among patent-experienced judges from many countries and between the patent bench and bar.

This gathering won’t hear from patent skeptics.  The Platinum sponsors are Akin Gump, Du Pont, ExxonMobil, Finnegan, P&G and Johnson & Johnson.  The program committee is unabashedly pro-IP.  No voice for the public domain; MSF, Oxfam, Jamie Love, Sean Flynn and other public interest voices aren’t on the program

I’m fine with IP maximalists holding conferences; I’m worried when judges from around the planet are wined and dined while hearing only a pro-IP point of view.

I agree that this is quite troubling. The conference is being organized in part by perhaps the most powerful US patent judge, the chief judge of CAFC, Randall Rader. Rader’s a very interesting guy, a fantastic speaker and extremely entertaining — but he has a huge blind spot when it comes to understanding how patents are regularly used to stifle innovation. Perhaps that explains why the conference that he supposedly helped put together appears to feature none of the many top voices who are worried about where the patent system is today.

Perhaps even more troubling, as Outterson points out, is that this conference — again, supposedly with Rader’s support — is being sold to patent lawyers (who have to pay $1475 plus travel and lodging to attend) as a way to get access to the very judges who will be handling their cases:


Conference attendees will have an opportunity to share experiences with nearly one hundred judges from around the world. Beginning with a welcome reception on Monday, judges will attend sessions and social events with intellectual property law attorneys and other interested parties.

As Outterson notes, this “sounds like buying social access to IP judges to me.” It seems shameful that Rader would allow his name and reputation to be used for such things. It’s equally shameful that USPTO boss David Kappos is appearing at the event. Again, it’s fine to have events discussing IP issues, and even fine for patent system supporters to put together their own conferences. But it’s troubling when the event is presented as a way to access judges, and all of the sponsors and organizers seem to have a particular view on the state of patent law today, which is seriously contrasted by actual evidence and research in the market.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Big Patent Holders & Big Patent Law Firms Bring Judges To Belgium For Boondoggle…”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
26 Comments

Future cases

What is the possibility that this conference could allow us to pull undesirable judges from various patent cases. In the same way we pull jury members based on potential bias, it should be logical to assume we could do the same for judges. At a minimum it will give weight to potential appeal cases if we can prove a conflict of interest and bias.

Does anyone have a list of attending judges? I would love to see this list made available.

bikeysays:

Rader

I’m sorry, RR is neither a fantastic speaker nor amusing – he is the georgebush of the judiciary. I remember being at a conference on Asian IP in Seattle years ago where this fratboy announced proudly that before got this job (how, I don’t know), he knew nothing about patents. The audience was not amused, but he was. Anyone who has a ‘blind spot’ on how innovation is harmed by patents, and who as a judge, let alone as an organizing judge, would participate in a conference like this is neither smart nor blind, he is an assault on all who believe that law should serve everyone and not just other rich fratboys and their corporations.

Re: Re: Rader

I’m sorry, RR is neither a fantastic speaker nor amusing – he is the georgebush of the judiciary. I remember being at a conference on Asian IP in Seattle years ago where this fratboy announced proudly that before got this job (how, I don’t know), he knew nothing about patents. The audience was not amused, but he was.

I’ve heard him say the same thing, but I still think he’s a great speaker and very entertaining. You can be entertaining and still be wrong.

Anyone who has a ‘blind spot’ on how innovation is harmed by patents, and who as a judge, let alone as an organizing judge, would participate in a conference like this is neither smart nor blind, he is an assault on all who believe that law should serve everyone and not just other rich fratboys and their corporations

On that we agree.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Rader

Perhaps it would be of assistance to review his bio on the website for the CAFC. Over the past 20 years on the federal bench he has acquired an intimate knowledge of patent law that is remarkable in scope.

It has been repeated here that the CAFC is dominated by “patent attorneys”, and that this creates an institutional bias in favor of patents in general. Of course, this is incorrect…but it keeps being repeated anyway.

Now we have an example of a jurist who is well familiar with all aspects of such law, but who did not begin his career as a “patent lawyer”, nor is he admitted to practice, were he still in private practice, before the Bar of the USPTO.

“Patent lawyers dominate the court”. “Non-patent lawyers create a gaping hole in the judicial competence of the court.”

Would it not be more accurate to simply say “We do not like patents at all, and the appellate circuit for patent law is marred by the fact that some of its jurists have practiced such law and are thusly biased, and others have not practiced such law and are thusly lacking in experience.”

If we were to adopt this standard across the board for appellate courts, no jurists would ever be able to measure up.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rader

“It has been repeated here that the CAFC is dominated by “patent attorneys”, and that this creates an institutional bias in favor of patents in general. Of course, this is incorrect…but it keeps being repeated anyway.”

How does denying patent critics access to these events, but allowing patent advocates access, not create a pro-patent bias?

“Patent lawyers dominate the court”. “Non-patent lawyers create a gaping hole in the judicial competence of the court.”

That’s not what anyone is claiming. We’re saying that more diversity, allowing more patent critics to attend these events, promotes more balanced viewpoints.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Report this ad??|??Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
12:25 Australian Privacy Commissioner Says 7-Eleven Broke Privacy Laws By Scanning Customers' Faces At Survey Kiosks (6)
10:50 Missouri Governor Doubles Down On 'View Source' Hacking Claim; PAC Now Fundraising Over This Bizarrely Stupid Claim (45)
10:45 Daily Deal: The All-in-One Microsoft, Cybersecurity, And Python Exam Prep Training Bundle (0)
09:43 Want To Understand Why U.S. Broadband Sucks? Look At Frontier Communications In Wisconsin, West Virginia (8)
05:36 Massachusetts College Decides Criticizing The Chinese Government Is Hate Speech, Suspends Conservative Student Group (71)
19:57 Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well (21)
16:07 Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment (15)
13:37 Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites (21)
12:19 Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate (158)
10:55 Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones (8)
10:50 Daily Deal: The MacOS 11 Course (0)
07:55 Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit (11)
02:51 Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is) (100)
19:51 Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible (26)
16:12 Content Moderation Case Studies: Snapchat Disables GIPHY Integration After Racist 'Sticker' Is Discovered (2018) (11)
13:54 Arlo Makes Live Customer Service A Luxury Option (8)
12:05 Delta Proudly Announces Its Participation In The DHS's Expanded Biometric Collection Program (5)
11:03 LinkedIn (Mostly) Exits China, Citing Escalating Demands For Censorship (14)
10:57 Daily Deal: The Python, Git, And YAML Bundle (0)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
06:41 Report: Client-Side Scanning Is An Insecure Nightmare Just Waiting To Be Exploited By Governments (35)
20:38 MLB In Talks To Offer Streaming For All Teams' Home Games In-Market Even Without A Cable Subscription (10)
15:55 Appeals Court Says Couple's Lawsuit Over Bogus Vehicle Forfeiture Can Continue (15)
13:30 Techdirt Podcast Episode 301: Scarcity, Abundance & NFTs (0)
12:03 Hollywood Is Betting On Filtering Mandates, But Working Copyright Algorithms Simply Don't Exist (66)
10:45 Introducing The Techdirt Insider Discord (4)
10:40 Daily Deal: The Dynamic 2021 DevOps Training Bundle (0)
09:29 Criminalizing Teens' Google Searches Is Just How The UK's Anti-Cybercrime Programs Roll (19)
06:29 Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink (41)
20:51 Copyright Law Discriminating Against The Blind Finally Struck Down By Court In South Africa (7)
More arrow