ABA Journal


Patent Law

Antitrust Enforcers to Consider Whether Patent Trolls Disrupt Competition

Nov 20, 2012, 11:30 am CST


The same idiots who gave us the seven no-nos of patents and gave away our technology to the Japanese in 1970s?

Patents are property rights, are a constitutional right and there is no place for antitrust law.

By Dale Halling on 2012 11 21, 4:10 am CST

Antitrust law is intended to protect consumers from abuses of a monopoly position, typically by a large company. Patents provide a legal monopoly, but exceptions have been noted in anti-trust law. The most notable exceptions are patent-tying arrangements.

Most patent trolls are small companies, who would likely market a product or provide a service but for the difficulties in obtaining adequate funding to do so. It is often the case that patent trolls have sought to license their patents, and the large companies have refused to pay a license fee, but then cry foul when the patent holder seeks to enforce its legitimate patent rights.

It is unclear to me how a patent troll, looking to monetize its assets, could ever be liable for an anti-trust violation, particularly if it first sought a license from a major company. After all, if the troll is not selling a product or providing a service, they cannot have market power in the traditional sense.

By David Bradin on 2012 11 28, 6:22 pm CST

Patent trolls stink! Hopefully that will be the [formal] end of them.

By Anna Gray on 2012 11 28, 7:07 pm CST

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