The Patent Troll Plague

There are two takes on patent trolls. Pick one: They are repugnant abusers of intellectual property (IP) legal protections and cause $80 billion in needless legal expenses for legitimate businesses. Or, patent trolls, who prefer to be called patent assertion entities (PAE), portray themselves as protecting defenseless innovators against the actions of global corporations.

These extreme positions are reminders that in the expensive IP war that vastly affects the CE and communications industries— there are few shades of gray.
From Amazon to Vizio, global companies now spend more money on patent litigation and defensive patent purchases than on R&D. President Obama focused on the need “to protect innovators from frivolous litigation and ensure the highest-quality patents in our system,” when he proposed a crackdown on non-producing entities (NPEs) that acquire patents solely for the purpose of suing big companies. He says patent trolls “don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort money out of them.”

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