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Patent Troll

This is a person or company that obtains a patent or patents and waits for someone else to make a product or conduct a process that is covered by the patent. Often the patent will be very broad and the technology doesnít exist, but later comes to be made. For instance, if someone had obtained a patent for wireless communication using different cells that the handset communicates with as a user moves from place to place, but didnít actually make such a product, later when cellular telephony came about, they could assert their patent as covering the new technology. However, it is possible that the patent could be invalidated as lacking enablement Ė that is, it didnít show how to accomplish the making of the invention. Further, as is recently becoming the law through the courts, the fact that they never intended, and, in fact, never did make the product, could result in a court holding their patent invalid.

Patent trolling was particularly effective before the U.S. patent laws were changed in 1995 to grant a patent right of twenty (20) years from the date of filing. Previously, with the law granting a patent right of seventeen (17) years from the date of issue, inventors could file a patent and keep the prosecution going without the patent issuing, thereby delaying the patent until a new technology covered by it came to be. Once the new technology was in place, the patent troll would get the patent to issue and then enforce it through an infringement action; thus, lying effectively in wait under the bridge to attach the weary traveler, like the trolls of Norwegian folklore.

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For more information on intellectual property, please visit Patent, Trademark, Copyright Information.

The content of this article is not intended to be, and does not constitute, legal advice and does not create attorney-client privilege. Consult the attorney of your choice before embarking on any legal matter or any document preparation/filing.

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Dr. Thomas R. (Terry) Williamson III is a Patent Attorney practicing in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Williamson Intellectual Property Law, LLC
1870 The Exchange, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30339
770-777-0977
http://www.trwiplaw.com
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Williamson Intellectual Property Law, LLC
1870 The Exchange, Suite 100 - Atlanta, Georgia 30339