Patent News

Apr. 6, 2015

Patently-O Blog: Guest Post: White House “Patent Troll” Report Challenged under the Federal Information Quality Act, by Ron D. Katznelson

This post originally appeared in Patently-O blog on April 6, 2015.

A letter to Congress from 51 professors of law and economics argues that “the net effect of patent litigation is to raise the cost of innovation and inhibit technological progress.” In response, an equally strong letter to Congress from other 40 professors of law and economics expresses “deep concerns with the many flawed, unreliable, or incomplete studies about the American patent system that have been provided to members of Congress.” The response letter defends the patent system and notes a pattern of analytical flaws in some studies underlying the 51 professors’ letter, listing basic empirical analysis reliability criteria that such studies fail to meet. Are criteria for reliable empirical analysis fungible? Should our patent policy turn on a “they said – they said” contest?

The answer must be a resounding NO. It turns out that the government has developed detailed criteria, requirements and standards for reliable empirical analysis and information quality. Because the public disproportionately relies on information disseminated by the government, the government holds itself to substantially higher standards than those used by private parties or non-government entities in disseminating information on the internet or in academic journals, with its high variability in accuracy and reliability. Congress enacted the Information Quality Act (“IQA”) in order to ensure that information disseminated by government agencies meet the standards of “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity.” 44 U.S.C. § 3516, note. Information disseminated by the government for reliance by government and the public must be “presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner.” The IQA forbids agencies from endorsing or approvingly disseminating information of substandard quality from third-parties.