Who are Patent Trolls? How Do They Work?
The patent and trademark legal branch is very closely linked to commercial profit and claim. So, there is no doubt that it has to frequently deal with wrongful claims and defamation, all for the sake of undeserved profit, publicity stunts, or press. Patent trolls happen to fall into this very category of “bad apples”.
In legal jargon, patent troll is actually a word with negative connotations. They are companies or entities who make patent infringement claims in court, purely to make profit or block competitors from being able to make a similar product. It is important to understand that this process is not strictly illegal, but it is frowned upon. One of the main examples in this day and age, are the multiple pharmaceutical companies attempting to patent the research work for potential COVID-19 vaccines and cures.
Another example of a patent troll is a company earning the right to charge tolls for a roadway, but not putting the money to use for repairs and improvements of the roadway. In this case, the patent troll or “patent shark” is using the patent to generate revenue without an equal exchange of any material benefits. The aim of the parent then becomes purely top line generation.
Other instances of patent trolling include buying patents from bankrupt companies for the sole purpose of removing all competitors from the market. Another one is enforcing a patent without intent of manufacturing the product. In all these situations, the intentions of the patent are far from actual protection of intellectual property to preserve the rights of the creator. They exist purely to glean money or to harm others in the same field of work.
One of the reasons why patent trolls are so successful is because of the amount of money that goes into a patent lawsuit. The fees for license lie in the range of tens of thousands of dollars – however, patent lawsuits can run into millions of dollars. As a result, smaller companies who are seen as competitors are likely to settle instead of fighting over the patent, even if no infringement has occurred.
In this way, patent trolls create a monopoly in the industry, one which is not actually beneficial to the industry or its consumers in any way. MDE Patents frequently looks into such thin claims and if you are at the receiving end of one, allow us to help you through it.
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