Patent Trolls Now Make Up More Than Half Of All Patent Lawsuits

from the uspto,-we-have-a-problem dept

The latest research by law professor Colleen Chien is getting lots of much-needed press coverage, in that it reveals we’ve passed the tipping point with patent trolls, as more than half of all patent lawsuits were brought by trolls. In fact, her new report reveals that 61% of all patent lawsuits filed in the first 11 months of 2012… were from patent trolls. That’s an astoundingly large number — and one that is growing fast. The same report notes that just last year the number was 45% and five years ago it was just 23%. When does the government wake up and realize we have a serious problem on our hands?

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Comments on “Patent Trolls Now Make Up More Than Half Of All Patent Lawsuits”

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vegetaman (profile) says:

I have little faith in change here.

“When does the government wake up and realize we have a serious problem on our hands?”

As soon as all the people who lobbied and vied for the system to become this broken realize they fucked up and lobby and vie for the system to be righted again.

(Protip: Don’t hold your breath. The wheels of justice move slow. And when it’s something worth doing; Congress moves even slower than that.)

Kevin OKeefe (profile) says:

Feels like claims of frivolous injury law suits

I don’t follow this like you guys, but this feels an awful lot like the claims that the majority of cases filed by injury victims were frivolous. It’s a tactic that works in the court room. A jury would presume the plaintiff had frivolous case.

Here, I have to believe judges are wondering if they’re facing a patent troll, whatever that is.

Travicane says:

Re: Feels like claims of frivolous injury law suits

The difference is, with almost all software patents, the plaintiff has a frivolous case, almost by definition.
The current huge influx of patents are on software, and generally trivial, obvious, broad, and should not have been granted even by a lazy or stupid examiner!

I do not think most of the examiners are either stupid or incompetent. It seems more likely that they may just be people trying to hold down a job, in the face of institutionalized corruption mandated by congress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Major Disincentives to Fix This

No, they lobby for “tort reform”. Which is a dog whistle for removal of rights to compensation. Corporate interests can not be bothered by the collateral damage their operations cause because they are creating jobs for us and they are our benevolent benefactors, if they are made to cleanup their own mess then we are out of a job … or so the mantra goes.

jameshogg says:

I posted this on the YouTube TED video of Drew Curtis. Thought you may enjoy etc so on so forth.

Poorfag? No money? Fear not troll science haz answer!!11one!?!

Step 1. Patent everything (Brotip: patent magnets first, stop other trollfags).

Step 2. Hunt down fag companies breaking patents (Brotip: use patented magnets for faster hunting).

Step 3. Sue companies, watch them all go ‘FUUUUU’ as they need out-of-court settlementz/ expensive lawyers.


Problem, innovaters? U jelly, software developers?!?!?

Colin Davidson (profile) says:

Some observations.

The percentages on their own don’t necessarily mean anything. First has the absolute number of “non-troll” cases changed? If the total number of cases had dropped, even a rising percentage of troll cases could be indicative of a decreasing problem. Not that there is really any chance of that, but the percentages alone don’t really tell the story.

Second, there are genuinely worthy non-practicing entities out there, which solely invent/design and then license their inventions/designs. A prime example of these is the ARM foundation. If such an entity were to sue someone, it would be counted as a “troll”. We don’t really know how many of these cases are by, or on behalf of, such entities or individuals. The real problem is the genuine economy destroying rent seekers who buy up patents from failed companies at pennies on the dollar and then extort as much as they can from genuine innovators.

I personally don’t think the problem is misuse of the patent system, it is the very basis of the system. Letters patent were bad for the economies which granted them when the criterion for their grant was being a crony in good standing with the government. They are no better now. The problem wasn’t the reason for the grant, the problem was the artificial monopoly, and it is still a problem Today.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So is your contention that every single patent suit is trolling? That there are no legitimate patent cases, rather they are shakedowns 100% of the time? This is very revealing of who you truly are, Masnick.

Curious if you might explain where you got your assertions in the first two sentences. Since neither of them are even remotely true, and I said nothing like them at all, I’m curious as to how you then made the final conjecture.

I would argue that the only person this says anything about who one “truly” is, would be you, the person who is so desperate to smear me, that you would resort to outright lies.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And in other news, over half of all comments on TechDirt are somehow related to comment trolls.

Seriously, which is it? First you say the article says that 100% of all patent lawsuits are filed by patent trolls, then you say the article says that more than half of all patent lawsuits are started by trolls. Make up your mind.

This is why people like you are so despised. You don’t actually have opinions; if you did, they wouldn’t change as quickly as the weather in the American Midwest. You just say whatever pops into your mind and pollute the articles with it. Even the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz would be aghast at what a brainless strawman you are.

staff (user link) says:

more dissembling by Masnick

?Patent troll?

infringers and their paid puppets? definition of ?patent troll?:

anyone who asserts a patent against us

Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: ?we?re using your invention and we?re not going to stop or pay?. This is just dissembling by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals and their puppets who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so. To them the only patents that are legitimate are their own.

It?s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I?ll show you a weak economy with high unemployment. Does that remind you of any present day country?

Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don?t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back into the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all patentees, large and small.

Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

For the truth about trolls, please see

Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

They sell blog filler and “insights” to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world?s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are hacks representing themselves as legitimate journalists receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don?t have any.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: more dissembling by Masnick

Oh. It’s you, again, just without the annoying .sig at the end. Obviously you don’t understand their business or the fact that this is an opinion blog, a place to discuss and give opinions and not a journalistic endeavor in the classic sense of the word. Not that any of that matters in your efforts to spew and smear and silence the critics.

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