Patent Troll Reform
As someone who wrote about the problems posed by patent trolls (or opportunistic licensing) years ago, I was heartened by the Obama Administration’s recent set of proposals on that issue. I’m not sure when we decided to start calling patent trolls “patent asserting entities” (Were cave trolls offended?), as any firm that brings an infringement action could be so classified. Nevertheless, administrative remedies and the possibility of further legislation are welcome.
To a large extent, the Administration and Congress are dancing around the real problem–software patents. In my 2007 article, I said that the abolition of software patents would be the best way to deal with trolls. At the time, I thought that was a pipe dream. Maybe it still is, but my sense is that people are more leery of software patents now and are more open to considering a reform in that area. It’s worth waiting and seeing if the new proposals work, but I’m skeptical that they will succeed any more than the America Invents Act of 2011 did.