Intellectual Property Strategies for the 21st Century Corporation: Summary of Chapter 8: When to Litigate: Rise of the Trolls


There exists a class of patent holders who do not practice their patented invention. Nonpracticing patent holders [also non-practicing entities or “NPE”] are also referred to by many as “patent trolls,” or in short, simply “trolls.” To some, the term troll evokes an emotional response because the term is seen as unfairly disparaging—conjuring up an image of a medieval creature jumping out of nowhere, demanding a costly fare to allow passage. [Our focus] is primarily to provide context and discuss the legal options available to a company for defending against an NPE. … Our goal is to help you and your company make a sound business decision based on prudent legal options and an awareness of the scope of the NPE issue.

Let’s assume your company has come up with a great new product called Product X. After doing the requisite homework to determine whether similar patents exist, and determining there are none, you release the product. However, a company now claims you are infringing its patent, despite your hard work in determining there was no similar patent. This company has never used its patent, never released a product or service, and you have never even heard of it. Despite this, you received a threatening phone call or letter. What do you do?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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