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Justice Department seeks sales ban restrictions for patent disputes

10 Jan 2013
Court room

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) have released a joint statement calling for limited use of sales bans in standard essential patent-related court cases - a nod to the ongoing patent wars between the likes of Apple and Samsung.

In the statement the groups call on the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to only issue sales bans in extreme cases of infringement. The appeal for caution comes following a recent onslaught of patent infringement cases calling for sales bans.

In its statement the DoJ calls on the ITC to factor in the potential harm a sales ban could cause the public when working on patent cases. While the call does not completely rule out sales bans, it stresses caution when considering the issue.

The DoJ's statement comes following a recent onslaught of patent infringement cases in the smartphone market. Companies like Apple and Motorola have been seeking sales bans against competitors via patent infringement cases for the part few years.

Many of the cases involve standard essential patents, which cover technologies recognised as necessary for much of the industry to be able to utilise.

Companies that own standard essential patents usually license them to competitors for royalty fees. However, some firms have failed to agree licence fees on their patents and end up in court fighting for sales bans.

Much has been made about the US patent industry in recent months. Along with the DoJ, US Judge Richard Posner also decried the current uses of patents last July.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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