Supreme Court Slays Patent Trolls

Three recent decisions clamp down on frivolous patents and lawsuits
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 21, 2007 6:38 PM CDT
Supreme Court Slays Patent Trolls
Chile's Supreme Court judges from left, Ruben Ballesteros, Jaime Rodriguez, Alberto Chaigneau, Nibaldo Segura and Hugo Dolmestch, listen to lawyers during a hearing in the trial to decide whether former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori will be extradited or not to Peru, in Santiago, Tuesday, Aug....   (Associated Press)

Technology Review looks at three recent Supreme Court decisions—taken together, "historic"—that crack down on "patent trolls," unscrupulous companies that file thousands of patents and just as many lawsuits, aggressively hunting for license fees. The new rulings make it harder to launch these licensing campaigns, and easier for courts to deny injunctions and patents.

The troll-boom dates from 1982, when a new federal court was set up for patents, making them easier to get and suits easier to file. As a result, many large companies began to set up "war chests" of patents that could be used to file claims—and as bargaining chips in negotiations. The piece explains how the war heated up, and how the rulings, though they're not all directed at patents, will defuse it. (More patent stories.)

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