The Patent Troll amasses large numbers of patents with the deliberate intention of pursuing infringement lawsuits against companies in an attempt to obtain licensing fees, which can often be considerable. Businesses of all sizes are targeted, in all business sectors, so it is not just a problem for the multinationals with large innovation programmes.
In reality patent trolling is a more serious problem in the US compared to Europe due to legislative differences. However, no matter what happens legislatively, it is important that companies wanting to launch in the US protect themselves as much as possible from patent trolls, whether they have patents or not. This also applies if you are trading online and you have your goods available in the US.
So how do you ensure that your patent strategy is best placed to protect you against patent trolls? The first place to start is to define your overall business objectives. The patent strategy follows from this strategic planning exercise and will require a complete analysis of the patent landscape in your area of expertise, including competitors. Be sure to carry out sufficient due diligence checks and make sure you have a thorough, wide-ranging technical knowledge base so that you fully understand the scope of your patented technology and that of any competitors. Always ensure you get appropriate advice from your patent attorney.