All innovators face the reality that many, many things have been thought of already, and are patented in some markets. The goal of the patent system is to reward those who have created novel and innovative products, and put them to productive use. In some cases, the patent system that rewards innovation has been perverted by taking advantage of nuances in the US legal system. This has led to the use of mothballed patents to extort fees from Internet infrastructure providers. The “trolls” engaging in this practice are the often-shadowy legal entities who threaten to file suits in the hopes of settling claims rather than engaging in litigation.. Because of the structure of patent litigation in the US, the initial cost of defending a patent suit falls on the alleged infringer. Because these suits can cost millions to fight, it often makes economic sense to settle the suit rather than fight it, even if the alleged infringer believes it has done nothing wrong.
Internet infrastructure providers face a landscape of tough competition. Having to deal with these trolls just takes away time and energy from our efforts to make our services better than they already are. That’s why we fight against patent trolls.
While patent troll abuse cuts across the economic spectrum, injuring retailers, realtors, fast food businesses and the tech industry alike, their tactics are especially lethal to technology start-up companies. We must eliminate this exploitation of the patent system to protect all businesses. i2Coalition seeks to help find a meaningful alternative to paying the troll toll.