According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a "patent troll uses patents as legal weapons, instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas." They collect their patents for pennies on the dollar from companies down on their luck. Since the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) has a bad habit of issuing very broad patents for ideas that are neither new nor revolutionary, it's easy for a patent troll, which typically has no other business, to send out threatening letters to anyone who might conceivably infringe their patents. These letters usually threaten a lawsuit unless the alleged infringer agrees to pay a licensing fee. These charges can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Thursday, April 11, 2013