Patent trolls, another name for Patent Assertion Entities, have gotten more exposure lately thanks in large part to the ongoing “smartphone patent wars”, as well as the growing number of businesses that are beginning to fight the malicious behavior of these entities that exist solely to file frivolous patent litigation.
According to a White House report released earlier this year, patent trolls are defined as:
“Companies that do not make products, but buy up or own patents and sue businesses they claim are infringing on those rights in order to collect licensing fees.”
In the words of President Obama, these entities “don’t actually produce anything themselves,” but instead develop a business model “to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”
The government believes that patent trolls are a drain on the American economy that requires legislative action to level the playing field for innovators. But waiting for Congress to act is no way to protect your company from patent trolls.
Here are three ways you can take action now:
Prevention. You can search for patents and trademarks online so you do not introduce anything to the market that already has a patent or trademark.
IP Insurance. Frivolous patent infringement suits have become so common that some insurance companies offer policies to help protect businesses from patent litigation.
Legal help. If you receive notification of a patent lawsuit or a letter demanding payment, consult a business attorney before you do anything. An attorney can also work with you to ensure your patents, trademarks and copyrights are current and identify any areas of concern for management.
If you are interested in learning more about business asset protection strategies, call us at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a business consultation session.