The debate over “Patent Trolls” revisited
The debate regarding what to do about “Patent Trolls” has lately been gaining steam and has been brought to the public attention in various ways. The term “Patent Trolls” usually refers to a person or company that attempts to enforce patent rights against accused infringers, despite the fact that the person or company being labeled a “Patent Troll” does not practice the invention by manufacturing products or supplying services. Thus, many “Patent Trolls” are considered non-practicing entities.
Many complaints regarding “Patent Trolls” focus in on the practice of “Patent Trolls” filing lawsuits in an attempt to pressure a settlement and/or a licensing deal because the accused infringer has to face the prospect of incurring significant legal fees to defend the lawsuit, even though the basis for the lawsuit may be weak or even lacking merit. Such lawsuits are often filed in the Eastern District of Texas, which is known for its expertise in patent suits. This can cause additional expenses, such as contesting the venue of the lawsuit and/or travel time. Further, if the “Patent Troll” is a non-practicing entity, then it will be difficult in most cases for an accused infringer to file a counter-claim for patent infringement against the “Patent Troll,” because the “Patent Troll” does not practice the invention.
It appears that the debate regarding “Patent Trolls” has even made its way to the movie screen and will be addressed in an upcoming Independent film. In addition, some states, such as Florida, have proposed legislation to address “Patent Trolls.” In Florida, the Patent Troll Prevention Act has been passed. This legislation is codified in Florida Statutes §§ 501.991-997. We have previously addressed the issue of this legislation in a prior blog article as well as Patent Trolls and the Innovation Act of 2015.
Regardless of what side of this issue you fall, the debate regarding “Patent Trolls” does not appear to be going away in the near future.
Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.
Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.