Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Trolls as owners of large numbers of patents?

In an article about patent trolls, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette states that patent law suits by non-practising universities are NOT trollish in nature:

Not all suits brought to fight patent infringements are trollish in nature, Mr. Singer said, pointing to two recent lawsuits in favor of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.

A jury found that Marvell Technology Group willfully infringed on computer chip technology patented by a CMU professor and student. And Varian Medical Systems last week settled patent litigation with Pitt over technology used during radiation therapy.

Thus, "not practicing" the claims of the patent does not make the patent assertor a "patent troll," in this view.

Elsewhere in the article

The definition of a patent troll varies, but for the most part they are companies that file or purchase large numbers of patents — sometimes from bankrupt companies — and then file lawsuits or demand fees against infringing companies.

IBM files large numbers of patent applications. And one recalls IBM Hits Twitter With Patent Infringement Claims Ahead of IPO And, as the New York Times noted in 2006 of two lawsuits by IBM against Amazon.com

I.B.M. filed its suits in two federal courts in the Eastern District of Texas, in Tyler and Lufkin. The Eastern District courts there are known for handling patent suits quickly and for often awarding large settlements to plaintiffs, said Gregory P. Silberman, a patent lawyer at the firm of Kaye Scholer.



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