Patents & Patent Trolls
A patent is a governmentally created monopoly that allows the inventor of a product or process to exercise sole control over the production and use of the invention for a given number of years, usually 20. United States Code (35 U.S.C. § 100, et seq) defines four categories of patentable inventions:
- Process: a series of steps
- Machine: a concrete thing consisting of parts or devices
- Manufacture: an article produced from raw or prepared materials
- Composition: a composition of substances or composite article
Beware of the Patent Troll
A patent troll is someone, often a law firm hiding behind a dummy company, who acquires a patent and then attempts to assert patent infringement in an effort to collect licensing fees.
- Usually, but not always, the troll does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patent.
- The signature move of a patent troll is to take a simple patent, often one that utilizes outdated technology, and attempt to expand the scope of the patent so broadly as to encompass products or services that were never envisioned by the original holder of the patent.
A patent troll should not be confused with a legitimate patent holder who is merely trying to protect his or her invention.
Patent trolls are bullies who live off fear and the expectation that their threats of legal action will force a business, usually a small business, to choose the comparatively lower cost of paying licensing fees over the much higher cost and hassle of hiring a patent attorney to mount a defense to unmeritorious litigation.
If you are facing allegations of patent infringement, let Beacon Legal Group help you analyze the matter and advise you about appropriate steps so that you understand all of your options. Our analysis may conclude that your best option is to pay a licensing fee or cease using the invention. However, if you are facing action from a patent troll, BLG will stand by you to defend your rights up to and including going to court, if justified.Contact us today if you feel you need help.
ˡ Patent law is a complex and highly specialized area of the law. To file for and obtain a patent requires the services of a licensed patent attorney. BLG attorneys are not licensed patent attorneys; however, we can and have assisted our clients in dealing with “patent trolls.” Furthermore, when our clients need patent help, we associate with reliable patent attorneys to take care of our clients.