The Evolution of Patent Law

Patent Law and Patent Trolls Modern patent law jurisprudence has grown enormously over the last 20 years. Mirroring the boom in Internet technology dating back to the early 2000s, the number of patents filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office has skyrocketed in recent years. While Google, Facebook, and other Internet-driven companies have grown tremendously, patent caselaw has not evolved as fast, which resulting in a significant amount of litigation. In the 1990s, opportunistic entities commonly referred to as non-practicing entities (NPEs) or “patent trolls,” anticipated the continuing growth of the Internet technology industry. Capitalizing on this growth, these NPEs acquired a multitude of patents but chose not to actively use them. Instead, the NPEs charge licensing fees to other businesses and individuals that appear to have infringed upon the patents.” While this act may seem like a frivolous threat, it has resulted in a significant amount of litigation, particularly in the Eastern District of Texas, where 28.6% of all patent cases were filed in 2014 and 43.6% of all patent cases were filed in 2015. Typically, NPEs will threaten suit if a business infringes upon a patent and does not pay licensing fees. When NPEs have sued, [read more]