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Is there a solution for Patent Trolls?

post Tuesday June 10, 2014

Tags: apple, google, patent, troll


If there is one group in the world that all the companies dislike, then it must be the ‘patent assertion entities’, also known as ‘patent trolls’. The most important negative effect of patent trolls is that they hinder the innovation of companies that actually make things. This article elaborates on this phenomenon. [1]

Big companies, such as Google and Apple, are targets of lawsuits filed by patent trolls. Since 2009, the most innovative companies in the world have been hit with numerous amount of lawsuits. This is not a good sign, since the lawsuits cost so much money (patent litigation and acquisitions). The research and development suffer from this. 

The big companies are not the only targets of patent trolls. 90% of the patent-troll lawsuits are claimed against small and midsize companies, according to a 2012 study by Boston University Law School. These companies have less resources to fight the patent trolls and frequently just pay them off to make them disappear.

This abusive system of patent trolls costs the economy billions of dollars every year. In 2011, $29 billion has  been transferred to the bank accounts of patent trolls. 37% was funded by the small and midsize companies who could have used this money for a better cause.

However, there are some possible solutions against the patent trolls. One of them is to create federal district courts where juries have technical background and decide patent matters only. Another solution is that jurors in patent trials have formal education in sciences and technology.

President Obama wants to reform the patent system and points out the importance of it. But it looks as if the Congress will not deal with the problem in the near future. The actions of the Senate have been delayed several times and it seems to be on hold now.

The patent troll activities cost a lot of money for the U.S. companies and it is a pure waste every year. This is anything but helpful, especially in the competitive world we live in. However, the biggest problem the patent trolls are causing is that they slow down the innovation. Congress should find a solution for the patent trolls, as innovation is essential for our economy’s future outlook.


Source: businessweek

Image courtesy of David Castillo  /

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