Patent News

Jun. 29, 2014

The Wall Street Journal: The Myth Of the Wicked Patent Troll, by Stephen Haber and Ross Levine

This post originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on June 29, 2014.

There’s a movement afoot to reform the U.S. patent system to combat “patent trolls,” businesses that buy patents from inventors and then sue firms that use them without payment. The core claim is that trolls discourage innovation through expensive and wasteful litigation that often extracts exorbitant payments from manufacturing companies. Advocates of reform include Republican leaders in the House, Democratic leaders in the Senate, many state legislators and even President Obama, who has pledged a patent reform bill “that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.”

Patent-reform activists point out that the number of patent lawsuits has increased by about 60% since 2000, which they cite as evidence that there is a serious problem with the patent system. But does the uptick in lawsuits actually indicate such a problem?

In short, no. It might instead reflect a healthy, dynamic economy. Rapid technological advances have spurred more innovation and patents, and courts are now clarifying the nature and boundaries of intellectual property and contract rights.

To read the full article please visit the Wall Street Journal site here.