A Cure for the Common Troll

Anthony Biller | OpenSource.com | February 20, 2012

Our bridge into the 21st Century presently houses a nasty creature who demands a toll from the best and brightest in our community. The dreaded troll is a regular denizen of our current system of patent enforcement and he poses serious problems for technology companies. Despite the great expense of patent litigation, trolls are filing increasing numbers of patent suits aimed at technology companies, and particularly aimed at software and related areas of commerce. Their club of choice is the broad, complex, and vague patent claim. There are several means at our disposal, most of which are based on known mechanisms from other areas of the law, for dealing with these trolls, or more diplomatically, these "non-practicing entities."

There have been some efforts to address the troll issue over the last decade or so. The America Invents Act together with the yeoman work of Director David Kappos, brought the U.S. Patent and Trade Office into the 21st century. But those improvements only address half the equation – the prosecution and grant of patent rights. The AIPA minimally addressed enforcement and troll issues, only precluding joinder of defendants unrelated but for a common troll affliction...