Keeping Tabs on Patent Abuse

The current US patent system provides protection to an inventor for 20 years and is a compromise between two different extremes. In the first, there would be rampant copying of inventions with only the original inventor enduring the cost of research and development. This would be the case if there were no patent laws at all. The alternative extreme would create a type of monopoly with patents that were enforceable indefinitely so nobody could ever compete with an invention.

Despite the effort to balance and compromise with current patent laws, the situation is not perfect. One of the most obvious flaws is the emergence of so-called patent trolls. Some believe patent trolls are people or companies that acquire a patent only for the purpose of suing companies. Unfortunately, a legitimate inventor can be labeled a troll if he or she pursues litigation to defend of an invention. For these people, a patent lawsuit is their only hope of earning a profit from what is rightfully theirs. Unfortunately, the line is sometimes blurred between these two scenarios and inventors are wrongfully labeled trolls as was explained in this story onĀ

Those who understand patent law and tend to side with the underdog when it comes to battles against large corporations oppose the changes to the law. This may be part of the reason the proposed legislation has failed to pass Congress, despite support from Republican politicians and the President. The legislation will likely make it more difficult for a legitimate inventor to file a lawsuit, which many believe is unfair and detrimental. However, without any compromise, patent troll issues will continue and create their own set of problems for those legitimate inventors.

Until changes are made and a resolution is reached, patent trolls will continue their efforts to delay all forms of development and clog up the legal system. Unfortunately, this frustrates not only the large corporate defendants, but also the little guy inventors for which the laws were created to protect. If you would like to learn more about patent trolls, contact an patenting agency, such as InventHelp, or an attorney in your area familiar with US patent law.

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