So what exactly is a patent troll? Well, they’re not the same as patent holders. Patent trolls don’t hold patents themselves, but rather buy them from other companies or individuals. They also aren’t the same as infringers—that would be someone who actually uses a patented invention without permission, like if your company was making and selling products without paying for the rights to do so. Finally, patent trolls are not lawyers (or at least most of them aren’t).
The owner of a technology can file the patent itself, but the patent will carry only the weight of the company´s resources.
Patents are expensive to file and maintain, so many inventors don’t bother. Instead, they sell their patents to investors who want to use them as currency in licensing deals or enforce them against infringers. These investors might trade in patents like any other financial instrument: buying low and selling high, leveraging patent portfolios against each other as leverage in negotiations with companies that might violate one of their patents with a competing product or service.
In fact, this is what makes patent trolls so egregious: they’re exploiting the lack of transparency in the process by which patents are sold (or not) by claiming ownership over technologies that may have already been patented by someone else doing legitimate research on those same ideas—and then suing for infringement fees when companies try to release products based on patented technologies that were never theirs at all.
For example, the owner of the technology could have his/her own team to enforce patented technologies, or hire a third party with more experience in managing and enforcing patents.
Sometimes, companies are aware of the fact that their patented technology may be used by someone else and they have no problem with it. In other cases, there is a patent troll who buys up patents and then uses them to sue companies for infringement – this can be both damaging to smaller businesses and costly for larger ones (it’s estimated that patent trolls cost American businesses more than $30 billion a year). As such, it’s important to recognize what exactly a patent troll is so you can protect yourself from them if necessary.
A company or individual can make money from patents in two ways: through licensing fees or through lawsuits against infringers.
The hired company is considered a patent troll.
Unsurprisingly, there are two types of companies that buy patents and then sue other companies for infringement. The type I just mentioned is the patent troll—the one you’ve probably heard about in the news. But before you think that only big-time corporate suits can be patent trolls, let me assure you that this isn’t true! Anybody can be a patent troll, from a government agency to an individual inventor who has an idea for technology that could have multiple applications.
The second type of company is called an NPE (non-practicing entity), also known as “patent assertion entity” or PLE (patent licensing entity). These companies license patents to manufacturers, who then use them to sue other manufacturers for infringement on those licenses. While these entities don’t actually produce any products themselves, they do fund research in order to develop new technologies so that they can later claim ownership over them through lawsuits against their competitors—hence the “non-practicing” part of their name.
An inventor who has invented something new and wants to protect his/her findings from being copied by others will apply for a patent with the US Patent Office.
The American patent system is designed to protect inventors from having their ideas stolen. If you have invented something new, you can apply for a patent and then if your idea is approved, only you will be able to make that product or process in the United States.
Inventors are often confused about how patents work and why they are important. There are many things people don’t understand about patents and this article will help clear up some of those questions:
- What is a patent troll?
- Why do companies who file lawsuits against “trolls” love patents?
There are three different types of patents that can be awarded from the US Patent Office.
There are three different types of patents that can be awarded from the US Patent Office: utility patents, design patents and plant patents.
These are the most common type of patent. A utility patent protects the way an invention works, what it does and how it’s made (the physical aspects). Utility patents can last for 20 years after they’re filed.
Design patents protect a specific ornamental design of an item, such as jewelry or furniture. Unlike other types of intellectual property rights like copyrights or trademarks, you don’t have to register for this type of protection—it comes automatically with your application if your design is novel enough to qualify for one (and only one). Design patents expire after 14 years from their filing date.
Utility patents – protects the functional aspects of products and processes described on the patent application documents.
In the United States, utility patents – protects the functional aspects of products and processes described on the patent application documents. This includes inventions that are new, not obvious and useful in a real-world setting.
Patent trolls buy patents at cheap prices and then force other companies to pay them royalties claiming infringement on their patents. They don’t actually produce anything themselves; they just file lawsuits against those who do. For this reason, patent troll is a pejorative term used to describe companies that buy patents and then use them offensively against those who have independently developed similar technologies
Design patents – protect the ornamental features appearing on a product described on the application documents.
Design patents are awarded for the ornamental features of a product described on the application documents. Design patents are issued to protect the appearance of an article, not its function. The design must be new, original and ornamental to be eligible for a patent.
The following is an example of what might qualify as design patentable subject matter: A container shape that allows easy opening and closing with one hand; A handle or knob design that permits ambidextrous use; A stylized shape that appeals to a particular segment of consumers (such as young adults).
Plant patents – protect plants reproduced through sexually reproductive methods or genetically modified plants.
Plant patents protect new varieties of plants reproduced through sexually reproductive methods or genetically modified plants. The patent is good for 20 years from the time it was filed and can be renewed for an additional 20 years if you pay a maintenance fee to keep it active. Plants are not eligible for utility patents like inventions are; however, they can be protected by design patents if they have ornamental value, such as decorative flowers on a plant (think roses).
Patent trolls buy patents at cheap prices and then force other companies to pay them royalties claiming infringement on their patents
A patent troll is a company that buys patents and then tries to enforce them against companies that have nothing to do with the original invention. These companies usually buy patents at cheap prices and then use them in lawsuits against businesses that actually make products.