Saturday, November 19, 2005

HBS Cyberposium: Patent Trolls

Karen answers a question about patent trolls. "A troll by definition doesn't have a product, he's just a troll.

People have very different approachs to this increasingly common problem.

It used to be you figured you'd have to be a big company which had lots of money worthy of sueing, but that's not the case anymore. They will try to sue young companies.

What people will do in the future. The only thing that will deter them will be challenging them. You want them to go sue somebody else.

USPTO gave them the patent theoretically after 3 years. They can say that the patent is invalid. In the future, we'll have prior art patent pools -- (definition: prior art -- if you file a patent the PTO needs to find this is new and novel over the existing art. ) Most of these patents have a very good chance of being invalid. So you should challenge their validity."

Find out who else they are suing -- there can be a consortium, they can share the cost of patent litigation. You may be able to tweek your technology to side step it.