Patent Trolls : An Essay

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Patent Trolls
A Hindrance to the Economy and to Computer Science
By Shawn Karber
PHIL 343 Final Paper

Patent trolls, often referred to as Patent Holding Companies (PHC) in the media, are a defamation to the ideals that the United States patent office were meant to promote, that is protection for the innovators and inventors of America. Wikipedia defines patent trolls as “a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question…”.1 ("Patent troll.") Not only do they undermine the ability of small companies or individuals to experience success and profitability through invention, they also hamper the progress of society, especially in fields of technology. PHCs are a devastating problem in the United States, not only in terms of their impact on global markets and progression, but also in terms of how many PHCs there are and how big they can become.

To understand the breadth of the problem, it is important to understand how prevalent patent trolls have become. According to an article in the Washington Post, patent trolls now account for 67 percent of all new patent lawsuits. Just five years ago, the article says the number of PHC-filed suits was 28 percent less.2 ("Patent Trolls Now Account for 67 Percent of All New Patent Lawsuits.") With an average increase of 5.6 percent a year, it is evident that patent trolls are
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