What Are Patent Trolls?
posted by Gerard Magliocca
Before the government shutdown began, the FTC announced that it was launching an investigation into a number of alleged patent trolls. This was, the FTC said, part of its attempt to understand the issue posed by opportunistic patent litigation, though one suspects that it was also partly designed to deter further litigation from these firms.
While I wouldn’t say that this approach is harmful, I’m not sure that it’s helpful. Patent trolls are a symptom, not a cause. They are the result of flaws in the patent system. Targeting those who bring the most suits might offer some temporary relief, but it won’t solve the broader problem.