Definition: A patent – a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.
Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
Recently, patents have been the center of discussion in the tech and business sectors as companies have used patents to secure monopoly rights to various inventions. The United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) upholds the Patent Act (35 U.S. Code) to determine which patents are approved and issued to whom.
If you aren’t familiar, even big name companies like Microsoft and Google are consistently involved in patent infringement wars. A few days ago, Microsoft and Google announced they would drop their patent disputes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an order settling royalty rates for Motorola’s video-coding and WLAN patents. Moreover, a jury trial effectively settled a patent dispute between Microsoft and Motorola in favor of the former, awarding the company $14.5 million in damages. Although Google sold the Motorola brand to Lenovo last year, Google inherited many pre-existing patent disputes when it bought the company in 2012.
Shortly after the Motorola settlement, Microsoft and Google agreed to dismiss all pending infringement complaints between the two. They have instead agreed to collaborate on numerous patent matters and intend to continue a working relationship for the benefit of their customers. Over the past few years, disagreements regarding the use of standard patents to disrupt competition has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. Standard-essential patents are those which define standards and are understood to be licensed under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The Motorola company was accused of breaching its FRAND agreement. In 2013, Google also agreed to grant competitive access on FRAND terms.