Could Trump Trade Protectionism Level the Patent Enforcement Playing Field?

While a protectionist trade position has been the chorus of the Trump campaign, little is known about the president-elect’s views on intellectual property rights. Increasingly burdened U.S. patent holders are hopeful for an ally who supports the enforcement rights of small patent holders.

We know he favors companies in the U.S. versus their foreign counterparts, so it seems likely that he is going to favor strong IP protection to prevent foreign companies from improperly incorporating U.S. technology into their products, says noted patent litigator Michael Heim of Heim, Payne & Chorush in Houston. The open question in the U.S. and in foreign treaties is, ‘What is going to be done with regard to the enforcement of IP rights?’ Patent enforcement actions in the U.S. have become a game of kings.  If you are not a large, wealthy corporation with a valuable product line, the deck is stacked against you.  Rules enacted to reduce the number of nuisance-value filings have had the unfortunate impact of making it difficult for all patent owners, especially smaller companies and individuals, to enforce their rights.

In addition, courts are killing computer-related patents by the hundreds and maybe even thousands, using recent rulings from the Supreme Court to dismiss cases before they can even get started.  We don’t know where Trump stands on these issues, but given his stance on other issues, the hope is that he is going to level the playing field for patent owners.

For more information, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or

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