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What Are Patent Trolls And How To Fight Them

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Craige Thompson

Craige is an experienced engineer, accomplished patent attorney, and bestselling author.

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Some companies don’t actually invent the things they patent, but rather buy patents and enforce them aggressively.

Other companies may actually patent inventions, but employ hardball tactics in enforcing those patents. The patents that these individuals/companies are trying to protect may not even warrant that much protection, or the perceived infringement is either exaggerated or nonexistent.

Sometimes in the legal world, this is referred to as “Patent Trolling.” If you think a patent troll has come after you, patent attorney who has the right experience can help.

Who or what becomes a patent troll?

Most typically, patent holding companies are accused of being patent trolls. It is generally easier for a company with the means and the interest to aggressively pursue patent infringement (whether real or improbable) than it is for individual persons to engage in such behavior.

Why does a person or company become a patent troll?

The reason that a company becomes a patent troll is money. Patent litigation is complex and expensive. Patent trolls are betting that most people and companies are going to settle out of court or give in into the patent troll’s demands rather than go through a costly trial.

Some patent trolls make most or all of their money through litigation, rather than through licensing whatever it is they’ve patented. They may specifically choose not to market their patent. Rather, they keep on the lookout for possible patent infringement and opportunities to sue.

What are some of the common things that patent trolls do?

Patent trolls will accuse others of violating their patents, and they’ll file lawsuits. These lawsuits may be frivolous, as in having no merit, and may even be filed with the sole intention of intimidating the defendant.

Now, some of these lawsuits may have merit. They may be of limited merit, or they may be asking for damages far beyond what the actual patent is worth. They may also exaggerate the applicability of a particular patent.

Patent trolls may create what is known as a chilling effect, which discourages others from exercising their rights to invent, create, and market their inventions, because of fear of being sued by the patent troll.

What should I do if I think I’m the victim of a frivolous patent lawsuit?

The first thing you should do is remain calm and don’t engage the other party.

Pro Tip- Don’t send any emails about the infringement within your company because they are not privileged.

You may have done nothing wrong or even have violated anyone’s patent. If you think that you are the victim of a patent troll’s frivolous lawsuit, the second thing you should do you speak to a patent attorney.

How can a patent attorney help me?

An experienced patent attorney can advise you on the best course of action to take. You may not have to settle or even go to trial. A lawyer is probably representing the patent troll, and you want to fight this suit standing on equal ground.

If you need assistance in gathering facts about your case and moving forward, we invite you to contact our patent law firm in Austin, Texas (representing clients nationwide) at (512) 746-7963.

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