Opinions and Editorials

Jul. 7, 2022

IPWatchdog: When It Comes To Patent Reform, Watch What Google Does – Not What It Says by Eddie Lazarus

The debate over patent reform is heating up again. Last month, Google published a blog post on patent reform, purportedly aimed at promoting American innovation. In it, Google decried the rising tide of “wasteful patent litigation,” railed against the disfavored practice of “forum shopping” and advocated for pending legislation aimed at making it easier for large companies to challenge the validity of patents owned by smaller rivals — all in the name of promoting a patent system that “incentivizes and rewards the most original and creative innovators.”

It should come as no surprise that Google’s reforms have little to do with promoting innovation and everything to do with helping Google. If Sonos’s experience is any guide, Google’s basic approach to patent litigation is to try to drive up the costs for its smaller rivals, while taking forum shopping to an absurd extreme. In so doing, it exploits weaknesses in our patent enforcement regime, many of which it helped create. Its actions, and the policies for which it advocates, don’t really foster and reward innovation, but they do, instead, protect Google’s freedom to imitate.