That is a question that many people are asking since the number of lawsuits filed alleging infringement of a patent rose approximately 13 percent in 2015, and that percentage could increase this year. Sources indicate that a significant amount (approximately two-thirds) of patent law litigation is the result of patent trolls. Some are attempting to find a way to reduce the number of these frivolous lawsuits that could potentially interfere with legitimate case filings from inventors across the country and here in Texas.
Patent trolls purchase patents for the sole purpose of filing lawsuits against entities that produce the products associated with the patents. They do not manufacture anything other than court cases. In order to avoid time-consuming and costly litigation, many companies will enter into settlements in order to avoid litigation.
The more lawsuits patent trolls file that are settled or won in court, the more money they make. It is not difficult to see that this is a lucrative endeavor for those who purchase the patents. Since patents are valid for 20 years, there is no shortage of potential defendants. This is why some people are attempting to find a way to increase the identification of frivolous patents, which are the ones that often end up being purchased by patent trolls.
In the litigious atmosphere created by patent trolls, it can be difficult for the claims of an inventor here in Texas or elsewhere from being taken seriously. Changes in the patent law might become necessary in order to reduce the number of annoyance suits that are currently being filed. Until that happens, those with real concerns will have to continue to vigorously assert their claims in order to be heard above the fray.
Source: npr.org, "Can Silly Patents Help Fight Frivolous Lawsuits?", Laura Sydell, April 12, 2016