Obama Goes After Trolls
Some people think a wish-granting, magical troll is the only way Barack Obama got elected. If so, he's certainly biting the hand that feeds him. The White House announced Tuesday five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations to protect patents from patent trolls, rogue companies that make a business out of suing companies for their patents. Legislation the administration is backing includes requiring any party sending demand letters, filing an infringement suit, or seeking PTO review of a patent provide updated ownership information. The executive actions include better training of patent examiners, especially when it comes to the highly technical details of a software patent.
In the last two years, the number of lawsuits brought by patent trolls has nearly tripledand make up 62% of all US patent lawsuits, according to a White House study also released yesterday. Patent trollvictims paid $29B in 2011, a 400% increase from 2005. SAS, a large software maker, is one company cited in the study that's been a victim of patent trolls. Another example described how hundreds of small businesses received letters from a rogue company alleging infringements of patents if the businesses had document scanners integrated into their computer networks. The trolls demanded a payment of $900 to $1,200 per employee for a license. The trolls in Lord of the Rings don't seem so bad now.