Friday, September 4, 2015

States Act Forcibly to Halt or Limit Patent Trolls

The patent troll condition -as identified- is a relatively new phenomenon/hot spot in the IP world, perhaps one or two decades old.  To be sure, there were isolated cases of troll-like behavior as far back as the 1970s, but nothing like the scope, intensity and frequency of the past several years.  Today's trolls not only find dormant patents also but buy up unused portfolios from companies not concerned with their IP or in need of cash and assert them against other companies.  It has been profitable because many companies would rather pay than play (hardball) because they don't want the publicity or the potential arbitration/litigation costs.

Large companies with massive patent portfolios have complained and campaigned for years to Congress asking for legislation to curb patent trolls.  There has been considerable activity but no results on Capital Hill.  By default, then, this has become a state issue and many have enacted various means to de-claw would be trolls as this article in the Wall Street Journal describes,  As more and more states are encouraged to follow the leaders, it will be interesting to see how Capital Hill reacts, if at all.  From a corporate patent house perspective, either one or both will be an improvement over the present condition.

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