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‘Patent Trolls’ Losing Their Fight with Big Tech Companies
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Summary: Big tech companies and ‘patent trolls’ are continuing their legal battles in and out of court these days, but big tech companies are starting to win.

Companies have been purchasing software for two decades now solely to sue technology companies, according to Reuters.

  
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These companies have been labeled patent trolls and they have gone after Apple’s iPhone features and Google’s online ads, winning millions of dollars.

The trolls are beginning to retreat from their battle now as U.S. law has made it easier to challenge patents for software programs. The number of lawsuits has dropped because the prices of patents are dropping.

“Their entire business model relies on intimidation, and that has lost its edge,” said Efrat Kasznik, president of Foresight Valuation Group. “If the patents are not enforceable in court anymore… the troll has no legs to stand on.”

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Robert Aronoff, the founder of Pluritas, said, “In some cases, there are just no current buyers for these patents at all.”

In these legal fights, big tech companies claim that patent acquisition companies they call trolls make no products, but are in business to buy patents and litigate to enforce those patents.



The trolls disagree with this sentiment. They claim they purchase patents from investors and from other companies to create a marketplace that checks on other big tech companies.

An overhaul of the patent system by Congress struck the first major blow to these trolls. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began taking requests in 2012 to invalidate patents used in litigation when they have been accused of infringement.

This type of review is faster and cheaper than sending the case to court. The system seems to be working, with challenged patents’ claims being reviewed at a rate of 80 to 90 percent.

Last month, brand new federal patent lawsuits had dropped by 40 percent to 329 new cases, according to Lex Machina .

Lex Machina also reports that defendants are fighting for longer periods now. In 2004, the average time it took for a case that failed to settle was 467 days. In 2013, that number ballooned to 673 days.

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Image credit: Patent Office



 

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