Recently Issued Policy Statement Says Sales Bans due to SEP should be a Rarity
In a recently issued joint policy statement, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said companies that own so-called standard-essential patents should rarely be allowed to garner sales bans due to infringement findings. As the statement came down hard on tech companies that leverage their SEPs to gain an advantage in the U.S. Market, it is also an appeal to the U.S. International Trade Commission to keep the public interest in mind when ordering injunctions according to Reuters
The statement read “The USITC, may conclude, after applying its public interest factors that exclusion orders (sales injunctions) are inappropriate.” Instead of injunctions, the Justice Department and USPTO said monetary damages should be implemented as punishment in cases where infringement is found. According to the bodies, only a handful of specific cases should have sales bans levied.
The statement as a whole is relevant to ongoing worldwide smartphone litigation, much of which really involves the battle between Apple and multiple Android manufacturers such as Samsung and Google’s Motorola. As for the ITC, the commission is currently reviewing a decision from an administrative law judge that cleared Apple of infringing on several Samsung patents, two of which are deemed standard-essential. It should be noted that the policy statement is not binding in court but federal judges may heed the opinions in future cases.