Thursday, May 13, 2010

Patent trolls

Boy, do I hate patent trolls. These are companies that produce nothing, but make money by suing companies that do produce things, over patent rights that probably should never have been issued in the first place. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with filing for or holding patents. In this litigious landscape, the best defense is to sit on a large and deep patent portfolio. But mutual assured destruction doesn't work if the litigious patent holder has nothing to be destroyed.

This week I got a call from an attorney who represents a patent troll that is suing Google over some ridiculous patent based on click tracking. Apparently Google is claiming Focalink, a company I co-founded, as prior art. Now I'm no fan of Google's market dominance in search, and in my current role wouldn't mind seeing them face a patent challenge from an upstart in the industry, but patent trolls occupy a much lower ring of distain than budding monopolists. I probably was a little rude in explaining to this attorney that I wouldn't answer his questions or help his client, but I did offer up my opinion that his client's patent was absurd and would be invalidated so they ought to drop the suit or settle. Something tells me they won't heed my advice.

No comments: