Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has introduced still more anti-patent “troll” legislation in the House. The legislation would amend the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Over a third of the Innovation Act is designed to make it more time consuming and expensive to sue for patent infringement.
The irony is not lost on us. Non-practicing entities (NPEs), referred to in the lay press as patent trolls as that is the narrative they are being fed, exist because small, single, poorly capitalized inventors simply cannot afford to assert their rights. The rights may be real, and enforceable, but simply beyond the reach of the patent owner. For valuation purposes, a patent in the hands of an owner without the means to assert its rights may have very little value. Many times the only way inventors can monetize their inventions is through selling them … and one clear buyer set is NPEs.
To make it more expensive, more burdensome to bring an infringement lawsuit is to further encourage the practice of a patent owner selling (IP) rights to entities with the wherewithal to protect them, many of whom are NPEs. And so it goes.