Other Legal Work Slow? Start A Practice To Help Patent Trolling

from the not-good dept

The economy still isn't doing so great, and that impacts everyone -- even lawyers. So what are they to do in weak times? Eric Goldman points out that in the past, they'd become bankruptcy lawyers, but this time around, it looks like some are realizing a more lucrative strategy is to get involved in patent trolling -- though they prefer to call it "IP monetization." This is, of course, just a continuation of the whole ridiculous focus on squeezing cash from unused or ignored patents, following the publication of the book Rembrandts in the Attic, which kicked off this effort.

From an economic standpoint, this activity is a pure dead weight loss on economic activity. There is nothing good that comes from it. You basically have companies that have ignored a patent they got for whatever reason, suddenly rediscovering it and using it to go after totally unrelated companies who actually innovated and brought products to market (almost always with no knowledge whatsoever of the questionable patent in the first place). And suddenly the actual innovators have to pay up to a company that did absolutely nothing with the invention.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: business, lawyers, patent trolls


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    TheStupidOne, 30 Nov 2009 @ 1:01pm

    This is Why

    This is why I am a strong believer in a 1 year at a time patent system. You pay your fee to get the patent then every year you have to pay another fee which is higher than the fee from the previous year. You can keep the patent for the current length of time if you pay up every year, but if you don't pay up each year then the patent expires with no way to renew it. This way you don't "rediscover" patents years after you've done nothing with them because if it isn't useful to you you'll let it expire.

    I also feel there should be a compete clause in patent law. If you have a patent and a direct competitor or the supplier of a direct competitor infringes on that patent in its competing product you can sue. You cannot sue companies that infringe your patent but do not compete with you. Competitor in this context is specific to a competitor to the product that is dependent on the patent in question. For example if GE had a patent on a new type of engine that GE decided to use in trains and other large land vehicles and someone else decided to use that patent to power a boat, then GE can't sue, even if this other company also makes different engines for trains or competes with GE in any other industry. Another example is if a company has a patent but doesn't make anything with it then that company cannot sue anyone because it has no competitors.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.