A SAD Scheme of Abusive Intellectual Property Litigation

123 Columbia Law Review Forum 183 (2023)

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4381824

25 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2023 Last revised: 27 Nov 2023

See all articles by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: November 20, 2023

Abstract

This Piece describes a sophisticated but underreported system of mass-defendant intellectual property litigation called the “Schedule A Defendants Scheme” (the “SAD Scheme”), which occurs most frequently in the Northern District of Illinois and principally targets online merchants based in China. The SAD Scheme capitalizes on weak spots in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, judicial deference to IP rightsowners, and online marketplaces’ liability exposure. With substantial assistance from judges, rightsowners can use these dynamics to extract settlements from online merchants without satisfying basic procedural safeguards like serving the complaint and establishing personal jurisdiction over defendants. This paper explains the scheme, how it bypasses standard legal safeguards, how it has affected hundreds of thousands of merchants, and how it imposes substantial costs on online marketplaces, consumers, and the courts. The Piece concludes with some ideas about ways to curb the system.

Keywords: intellectual property, patent, copyright, trademark, trolling, civil procedure, rightsowner, online marketplace, amazon, counterfeit, ex parte TRO, temporary restraining order

JEL Classification: D18, K2, K41, K42, L86, O34

Suggested Citation

Goldman, Eric, A SAD Scheme of Abusive Intellectual Property Litigation (November 20, 2023). 123 Columbia Law Review Forum 183 (2023), Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4381824, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4381824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4381824

Eric Goldman (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-4369 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ericgoldman.org

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