What Does the Term “Patent Troll” Mean?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reports that more than 300,000 patent applications are granted each year. Patent law is complex—and there can be sharp disputes over who owns/controls a patent. You may be wondering: What is a patent troll? The short answer is that a patent troll is a pejorative term that is used to describe parties that attempt to enforce patent rights beyond their perceived contributions. In this article, our Florida patent litigation attorney provides a more comprehensive overview of the meaning of the colloquial term “patent troll.”
Patent Troll is a Pejorative Term Used for Parties that Acquire and Enforce Patents
Patent troll is a pejorative term for individuals and/or businesses that amass patents, not for innovation or production, but to pursue infringement lawsuits. They primarily profit from acquiring vague patents and aggressively enforcing them against supposed violators. They are often criticized for exploiting the patent system. Though controversial, patent trolling is legal and represents a complex aspect of intellectual property (IP) rights. Indeed, what constitutes “patent trolling” and a legitimate acquisition and enforcement action by another company is not always a bright line.
Four Tips to Protect Your Company Against a Patent Troll
Patent trolling is a business strategy that can disrupt and financially drain unsuspecting companies. While navigating this aspect of intellectual property law is challenging, certain strategies can fortify your company against patent trolls. Here are four actionable tips that you use to protect your South Florida business against a patent troll:
- Prior Patent & Use Search: Before investing time and money into a new product or technology, conduct a thorough ‘prior art’ search. Among other things, this involves identifying any existing patents that your innovation might infringe upon. A comprehensive patent search can make a dramatic difference.
- Patent Acquisition: File for patents that are integral to your business. Securing broad, robust patents can deter trolls from claiming infringement and may provide you with leverage if a troll attempts litigation.
- Insurance Coverage: Some companies offer intellectual property insurance, specifically designed to protect businesses from patent infringement lawsuits. Coverage can help pay for the legal costs associated with defending against a patent troll. It can be a safety net, providing financial security if you’re faced with such a challenge.
- Proactive Legal Representation: Engaging a legal team experienced in patent law can provide vital assistance. An experienced team can help you navigate complex patent filing and litigation procedures, ensuring your parents are bulletproof against potential infringement claims.
Contact Our Boca Raton, FL Patent Litigation Attorney for Immediate Legal Help
At Perkins Law, we are an intellectual property law firm with the skills, experience, and legal expertise to assist you with your patent law matters. You do not have to navigate the system alone. Contact us now for a private consultation of your case. Our IP law firm provides patent litigation representation in Boca Raton and throughout all of South Florida.