How to Fix Patents: Trolls, Innovators, and Reform
Patents are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as a means to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” But in recent years, it has done just the opposite.
In 2011, infringement lawsuits brought by non-practicing entities known as "patent trolls" led to $29 billion in direct payoffs, and over $80 billion damages to the economy.
Since the average cost of litigating an infringement claim is $5 million, the vast majority of cases are settled out of court -- creating a get rich quick extortion racket for unscrupulous patent holders.
The problem isn't just the trolls. Our outdated patent system constantly outputs bad and overly broad patents -- without having a good process in place to review and invalidate bad patents.
With support for reform growing from Washington and a wide range of interest groups, join our panel of a Google lawyer, a patent law professor, and an alleged mega troll for an in depth discussion of the patent reform debate.
Additional Supporting Materials
- [Ask each panelist] What is the single biggest problem with the current patent system? How would you fix it?
- In the past year, there were half a dozen pieces of legislation introduced to address patent reform. Would any combination of these bills do the job, or do they fall short?
- How do you strike a balance between encouraging innovation and preserving and protecting intellectual property rights?
- Proposed legislation seeks to punish patent trolls or shift the fees of litigation on to them. But how do you determine what a patent troll is, and what are the problems with trying to do so? Do bills such as the SHIELD Act succeed at this, or are there easy workarounds?
- Are there any reforms that everyone on this panel can agree on?
- Reihan Salam R Street Institute
- Julie Hopkins University of Maryland Law School
- Erich Spangenberg IPNav
- Lee Dunn Google
Zach Graves R Street Institute
Show me another