Startups Realizing That Patent Trolls Are An Existential Threat
from the time-to-fix-the-problem dept
"I have more lawyers than I have employees," said the entrepreneur, who asked to remain anonymous for fear he would be the target of even more lawsuits.That entrepreneur noted that he's stopped paying himself a salary, and his legal bills ($50,000 per month) were rivaling his overall payroll of $63,000 per month. But he's fighting the troll on principle.
But, of course, even if he wins, he's not going to get that money back:
Young companies that are looking for venture capital are most likely to settle, so goes the conventional wisdom, because they have limited cash and worry that a lawsuit will scare off investors. It's cheap to bring a lawsuit, but expensive—$2.5 million on average—to defend against one. Not surprisingly, the majority of patent suits are settled out of court.This is part of the reason why the SHIELD Act would be a useful step. While there are still many, many problems with patent trolling, at least it would make it possible to go after trolls for legal fees when the trolls lose.
"The system is so stacked against me," said the e-commerce entrepreneur. "To prove I'm right, it will cost me more money than I have raised in my company's existence. If I win, I don't get the money back, and if I lose, I owe triple damages."