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  • May 2nd, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    So-called "Reform"

    The intent of patenting is not exclusively to make or sell a product. What it does is document that someone has invented a way to do so. An additional reason for filing for a patent is for the legal position to license someone else to make or sell the product.

    When a company decides to introduce a new product or use a new method to create it, that company is responsible for verifying that it is not infringing on someone else's patent. What we are calling "trolling" is, at best, the result of slipshod patent searches by incompetents.

    In a worst case scenario, though, the company is well aware that it is infringing, but decides to perform a "risk/benefit analysis" to decide whether it'll cost more to obtain a license or to ignore the existence of the patent and pay out the likely lawsuit settlement.

    I have no inside information, but I would suspect intentional patent infringement is more likely than incompetence. If I am correct, the only way to reduce the number of incidents is to increase the judgment given to plaintiffs - to ensure that the risk of infringing exceeds the benefit. Even if I am wrong, increasing the payments would motivate the companies guilty of "innocent infraction" to hire people who are more diligent in their duties when performing patent searches.

    Bottom line: Increasing the amount awarded to plaintiffs in patent infringement cases will reduce the number of lawsuits, regardless of the root cause.