Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trolling for an Inventive Method for Patent Enforcement

Much of the discussion of the “patent troll” surrounds how exactly a “patent troll” is defined. Some refer to patent trolls as “non-practicing entities,” and others to “patent assertion entities.” These sound in the media like lazy, menacing, evil, money-grubbing corporate shells waiting for their crossing fee from under the bridge – and surely there are some of those. But that “patent troll” definition can also appear as an independent inventor who doesn’t make, use, or sell his invention. Maybe that inventor’s idea was stolen by another company that now makes, uses, or sells it. Before filing a lawsuit, he may set up a corporate entity to hold the asset to help protect him from personal liability or fund the litigation. Patent litigation is expensive and shouldn’t that right be afforded to everyone? Otherwise wouldn’t the Apples and the Samsungs be the only ones skating in the rocket docket of Marshall, TX? We need to think very carefully about how we define “patent troll” before we try to make it unjustly hard for so-called trolls to litigate.

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