Patent Trolls

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

As we noted yesterday, President Obama is holding a “Fireside Hangout” via Google Plus today. In a bit of a surprise turn, he took a question about patents and patent reforms, with a specific question about software patents. And, his response was surprising. He admitted that there was a problem, and that there were some companies who were clearly not doing anything other than trying to “extort” money from others. Furthermore, while he pointed to the patent reform bill that passed in 2011, he also admitted that it really only went “halfway” towards reforming the patent system as far as it needed to go. If you click on the video, this takes place around 43:30 in the video….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “President Obama Admits That Patent Trolls Just Try To ‘Extort’ Money; Reform Needed”

* It’s 12/12/12. Or as rational people call it, “just another Wednesday already, God.” [ABC News]

* Elizabeth Warren is going to be on the Senate Banking Committee. Boom. How ya like me now. [Reuters]

* Do women make better lawyers than men? For some reason this question made me want to make a really sexist joke. But I’m afraid of being yelled at by feminists. Afraid, like a little girl. [Law Frat]

* Verizon to take on copyright trolls. I hope this leads to a commercial with that Verizon T-Mobile 4G woman playing whack-a-mole in a sun dress. [Torrent Freak]

* You know what could keep us from falling off the fiscal cliff? The death tax. Mwahahaha. [Tax Prof Blog]

* SCOTUSblog is looking to hire a good law student or LL.M. student. Qualification #1: you should probably know what SCOTUS refers to. [SCOTUSblog]

* Lindsay Lohan had her probation revoked. If you are one of the people who care about this story, thus necessitating this mention of it, I hope bad things happen to you this holiday season. I’m serious, if you care about Lindsay Lohan, I hope Santa brings you herpes. [TMZ]

Trolls!

* If you swap out a menorah and put in a dreidel, does your Hanukkah display avoid violating the Establishment Clause? I know, I know, WAR ON HANUKKAH. [Huffington Post]

* I wonder why Martha Minow (law dean, HLS) or Robert Post (law dean, YLS) doesn’t write an op-ed defending the value proposition of going to law school? Wouldn’t you like to hear this argument from somebody who isn’t desperate to fill their class seats? [Constitutional Daily]

* Isn’t the concept of the “last meal” the best thing about death row? Granted, that’s a low bar, but still. Having a last meal sounds so civilized. No wonder Texas and Florida want to take it away. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Do patent trolls have a weakness to fire, just like videogame trolls? Because, I’d like for them to get burned. [Business Insider]

* The fact that voter suppression doesn’t work doesn’t make it right. [Election Law Blog]

* Ignoring losses until they go away sounds like the basis of any sound financial strategy. [Dealbreaker]


On the day the iPhone 5 became available to the public, I wrote a post asking if the new smartphone might be a sign of the IP apocalypse. I’m not the only one, apparently.

Finally, the rumblings of discontent within the tech and legal industries haved boiled over into the mainstream. The New York Times wrote an extensive front-page story yesterday, chronicling the intellectual property arms race gripping the industry.

A lot of the subjects in the piece may be familiar to Above the Law’s readers. We’ve covered Apple’s schizophrenic attitude towards patents and the America Invents Act (and how it could affect one’s ability to patent bedroom gymnastics).

But let’s take a closer look and put it all in context…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Closer Look at the ‘Chaos’ of the American Patent System”

Before I sat down to write this column, I thought I knew what trolls were. Answer: they are the men who I dated in law school. Apparently, that is only partially true. Trolls are also a potential revenue source for small firms.

The term “patent trolls” is a controversial term with multiple meanings. According to Wikipedia, the definition includes a party that does one or more of the following:

• Purchases a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sues another company by claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent;
• Enforces patents against purported infringers without itself intending to manufacture the patented product or supply the patented service;
• Enforces patents but has no manufacturing or research base;
• Focuses its efforts solely on enforcing patent rights; or
• Asserts patent infringement claims against non-copiers or against a large industry that is composed of non-copiers.

The controversy can be seen by comparing the views of those considered the trolls (the non-practicing entities with patent rights) to those who are sued by the trolls (often big companies). For instance, compare this to this. The former considers the notion of a patent troll to be a myth, while the latter describes patent trolls as “reprehensible.” For those of you looking for a side gig, you may consider talking to the silk-screeners of the Team Aniston and Team Jolie t-shirts during the Brangolina saga.

Regardless of where you fall on the Team Trolls versus Team Troll-Haters debate, a recent article suggests that patent trolls can mean big money for small firms….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Trolls Could Save Your Business”

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