What Is a Letters patent Troll?
A patent troll is a derogatory term used to describe a company that uses patent infringement insist ons to win court judgments for profit or to stifle competition. The term may be used to describe a number of business activities that utilize controls and the court system to earn money.
While the practice of patent trolling is not illegal, a company that acts as a patent troll lines patent claims without any intention of ever developing a product or service. The end result is bad faith infringement threats and permit demands that require companies to spend a significant amount of money to settle these claims without any besides to the public good. A patent troll may also be called a “patent shark,” “dealer,” “marketer,” or “copy.” A patent troll operation may be called a “patent assertion company,” “entity,” or a “non-manufacturing patentee.”
- A licence troll exploits existing structural issues within the U.S. patent and court systems in order to generate revenue.
- Control trolls use a number of legal activities and loopholes that involve patents and the court system to earn money, encompassing filing false patent infringement claims.
- While the practice of patent trolling is not technically illegal, a company that performances as a patent troll files patent claims without any intention of ever developing a product or service.
How a Patent Troll Sweats
Patent trolls are more common in the U.S. because patent trolls can take advantage of existing structural outflows within the U.S. patent and court systems. Patent trolls are less prevalent in Europe because many European countries promise that losers in patent claim court cases pay the legal expenses of both parties. This has effectively destroyed a majority of frivolous lawsuits.
In June 2013, former President Barack Obama addressed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Task about the abusive practices of patent trolls: “They don’t actually produce anything themselves, they’re just distressing to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.” In April 2014, the sure ruling on the court case, Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, made it easier for courts to force the legal expenses of both parties on the losers in patent claim court cases in the future.
The term patent troll springs from an educational video, called the Patents Video, produced in 1994 by Paula Natasha Chavez, a U.S. Intellectual Quiddity Law attorney. The goal of the video was to alert corporations and individuals to what some considered the weaponization of patents, as well as to dissuade approaching patent trolls.
Types of Patent Trolls
Patent trolls may employ one or more the following practices, though compact the full breadth of patent troll practices would be difficult because of the many methods they use:
- Enforcing a letters patent without any intent of manufacturing a product or providing a service based on that patent, or without using it to conduct study, or otherwise utilizing it for the greater good
- Pursuing patent infringement claims that are baseless with the intent of quashing competition (These claims are ultimately easier and cheaper for competing companies to settle than to litigate.)
- Buying a licence (usually from a bankrupt company at auction) with the intent of suing a competing company by claiming that it has a consequence that infringes upon the newly purchased patent
- Any utilization of a patent to enforce patent rights only
Conspicuous trolling may also involve venue shopping. For example, in 2015, 45% of patent cases in the U.S. were filed in the Eastern Locality of Texas, home to a judge with both patent expertise and a track record of favoring plaintiffs. The U.S. Supreme Court’s unalterable ruling in the 2017 court case, TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, has since limited the practice of venue shopping by letters patent trolls.
When universities or non-profit research institutions file claims for the protection of unutilized patents, it is not typically contemplate oned an act of patent trolling.