Patent News

Sep. 22, 2015

Intellectual Asset Management: Robert Reich did not mention NPEs in his New York Times OpEd, but he demonstrated why they exist, by Richard Lloyd

This post originally appeared in Intellectual Asset Management on September 22, 2015.

Whenever an article hits the mainstream US press that touches on the world of patents, we sit up and take note. On Sunday the New York Times ran an op-ed by Robert Reich under the headline “Big tech has become way too powerful”, in which IP played a prominent part. There was plenty in it to pique the interest of patent market watchers, not least the fact that it made no mention of “trolls”.

Reich was Secretary of Labor in President Clinton’s first administration before returning to academia. He is currently the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Much of his writing tends to be in support of left-of-centre (certainly by American standards) policies and he regularly inveighs against the damaging effects of entrenched big business on the US and global economies.

His NYT piece, which is adapted from an upcoming book, was certainly in character. It raised a series of points about the power that large technology companies now have in the US and beyond, with their control of various forms of IP – including patents – being cited as a prime reason for this.