EFF works to push back against unjustified sealing of documents in court cases, including in patent cases where improper sealing is practically routine. The public has a First Amendment right to access court proceedings and this right is violated when documents are sealed without good reason. Ultimately, we hope that greater transparency will foster better public understanding of how patents function within our system. We have successfully intervened in several patent cases in order to provide greater transparency to the public.
In both the district court case and at the Patent Office, it is clear that parties are often sealing much more information than the law allows. It is only when challenged do they agree to reveal what should have been public in the first place. But it should not require a third party’s intervention before the courts and parties make public what should have been public all along.
This page collects EFF’s transparency work in specific patent cases, both in courts and before the Patent Office, and our work pushing for better rules governing transparency.