Are Patent Trolls the Problem or the Symptom?


Are Patent Trolls the Problem or the Symptom?

June 14, 2013

Patents have been in the news again and as is often the case there is a lot of emotion in the coverage. With the recent White House action and numerous bills being introduced, we pulled some articles from the week that offer what we believe to be a more balanced view into the current state of the patent market as well as some alternative views and opinions on many of the proposed changes.

Milone, Cheryl. “It’s Not Just the Trolls, It’s the Patent Quality.” Corporate Counsel.

“It’s time for all patent owners—large and small, practicing and non-practicing alike—to step up their game on patent quality. With the cost of patent litigation and the size of patent verdicts skyrocketing, it is clearly in everyone’s interest that they do so. With patents and other intellectual assets now comprising 80 percent of public company market values, patent quality may soon even become a board-level imperative.”

Sununu, John. “Who is a patent troll?Boston Globe.

“The complex truth is that patent holders occupy a spectrum as broad as the nation’s economy itself. If we insist that only manufacturers are legitimate patent holders — as President Obama seems to be doing — we marginalize and weaken an incredibly important segment of American innovation that often supplies the Apples and Samsungs of the world with the competitive edge they need.”

Epstein, Richard. “Trolling for ‘Patent Trolls’Hoover Institution.

“What does matter is the persistent and credible charge that the large technology companies, which are strongly behind the AIA [America invents Act] and the new round of proposed changes, use the court system to stonewall legitimate inventors who lack financial resources in order to discourage similar litigation by other inventors.”

Worstall, Tim. “The White House Takes On the Patent System: But There’s A Much Simpler SolutionForbes.

“We need to distinguish between the good patent companies and the bad ones. For many companies with large patent portfolios have set up special companies to handle them. For the good old reasons of the division and specialisation of labour. Now, by any likely legal definition these are PAEs.”

Leff, Barry. “Patent Assertion and US InnovationIP Watchdog Blog.

“There is nothing “morally superior” about an inventor who chooses to manufacturer his or her product, versus an inventor who chooses to sell or license his invention. There is nothing in the patent system that compels a patent owner to manufacture the patented product. Nor should there be.  Why should someone who comes up with a really clever feature for a smartphone be forced to manufacture smartphones or lose his ability to protect his intellectual property?”

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