SXSW Interactive 2014
Clubbing the Patent Trolls: How We Can Fight Back
Innovators face a growing epidemic of litigation from so-called "patent trolls" - companies that do not make or produce products, but sue those who do. Last year the majority of patent lawsuits were brought by such entities, at an estimated overall cost to the US economy of $20B.
Patent trolls use broad and vaguely-worded patents to bring infringement claims against innovators, and demand payment of a "license" to avoid a lawsuit. They are able to exploit the legal system because they know that the cost of defending a lawsuit can range into the millions of dollars - more than the victim is able to pay.
Once primarily a problem for large companies, today's cost common patent troll targets are small startups that do not have significant resources or legal departments.
This panel presents a leading Member of Congress along with innovators and public policy advocates discussing how we can protect ourselves from the patent lawsuit tsunami.
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- Why is this important? What is the scope of the patent troll problem, and why should we be concerned?
- What is the most effective strategy for a small company facing a patent troll lawsuit? What works, what does not?
- What is Congress doing to fix the broken patent system? What are the obstacles?
- How can we make sure that any fixes do not diminish the rights of legitimate companies to assert their intellectual property rights - ie how do we make sure we are catching the tuna, not the dolphins?
- How can the audience get engaged to make sure that our patent system works for - not against - innovators?
michael petricone, sr vp public policy, CEA