Of Trolls and Treasures

The House Judiciary committee held hearings last week (3/13/2013) regarding comments on the new "Shield Act".  The Shield Act is designed to address so called "Patent Trolls" and protect, or as the bill states "Saving High-Tech Innovators" from the ugly ole' trolls.  In a recent article we presented a perspective on the issue HERE and further commentary on the details of the basis upon which the new "Shield Act" has been written, in short, it is based upon biased and "secret data" as provided in a recent article by Adam Mossoff at Truth on The Market HERE.  Mossoff indicates that the $29 Billion price tag given for "Egregious Legal Disputes" was from a "secret survey" done by RPX, a company that makes its money by defending companies against "Patent Trolls."  Not exactly scientific and along with that neither the data nor the study has been published.

At the base of all of this is the definition of a Patent as "Property".  If an inventor, large or small, has an issued patent then by law it is "Intellectual Property" and the owner has rights and the ability under the law to enforce those rights.  Some will point to "bad patents" in connection with "Patent Trolls" however one has nothing to do with the other.  If a patent is "bad" or invalid that should be addressed through the normal course of the patent prosecution at the USPTO and there are already measures in place for those issues.  However, one cannot simply say that because an inventor is deemed a "Non-Practicing-Entity" (NPE), i.e. a "Patent Troll", that they are unworthy of ownership rights by rhetoric alone.  This is a slippery slope that if allowed to continue may render patents worthless and truly stifle innovation.  We pointed this out in another article HERE showing just how strange some logic can get when Google simply states that Apple should simply give its property away because they are just too successful!  Isn't that the point, to innovate and be successful?

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