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Beware the Patent Trolls

The Toll Troll, by Kris Frieswick, Inc. - RF CafeNonpracticing entities (NPEs), aka patent trolls, think they're getting a bum rap. Those companies that buy up patents and then search to the ends of the Earth for potential cases of infringement say they are only protecting the original inventors' right to an exclusive claim to innovation, even though the inventor is no longer involved. An article by Kris Frieswick in the February 2013 edition of Inc demonstrates otherwise. Frieswick takes the unusually brave step of naming names of the industry's most notorious abusers. According to his research the practice cost industry $29B in 2011. Typically, a troll serves the accused with a notice of infringement along with proposed settlement terms which could be a license fee or purchase of the patent. Neither comes cheap. Software, the biggest target, comprises 74% of all cases even though it represents only 12% of total patents. 90% of the abused surrender without a challenge and settle out of court. Trolls count on that. Rarely does anyone threaten to sue a troll, so the business is pretty lucrative with low risk. The best defense thus far has been to prove existence of "prior art" on file with the Patent Office that invalidates the troll's patent. They usually retreat back under the bridge upon presentation of that evidence. Here are some related patent articles on Inc.

Beware the Patent Trolls - RF Cafe



Posted  February 2013
 

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