Trolling the american dating system
The trolls demand a settlement fee, which many of the victims pay rather than face the punitive cost of litigation—m or more these days.Concern that the flood of frivolous patent suits in America is hobbling innovation and competition has caught Congress’s attention.Startups threatened by such actions frequently have to withdraw from the business or go bust.Bigger companies that choose to fight spend tens of millions of dollars on litigation that could otherwise go on research and development.But one dissenter on the panel, Judge Kimberley Moore, warned that if the patent were ruled invalid, it would cause the death of hundreds of thousands of similar patents for business methods, financial systems and software, and would “decimate the electronics and software industries”.
Unlike its specialised counterparts in Europe and Japan, the Federal Circuit, with its grab-bag remit, has never acquired expertise in patent jurisprudence.
Trolls (known in the legal world as “patent assertion entities” or “non-practising entities”) do not make anything, but send out thousands of “demand letters” to companies that allegedly infringe what are often vague and overly broad business-process and software patents.
In recent years their targets have spread from high-tech firms to universities, retailers, hospitals, charities and even consumers.
Were that not the case, all manner of monopolies could spring up based on common ideas—such as boiling water to make tea—that could feasibly be used to prevent others from doing the same, or at least require them to pay a licence fee.
Historically, the courts have viewed software inventions as far too abstract to qualify for a patent.