They say they’re being held captive by patent holding companies – sometimes called patent trolls – who acquire patents on small parts of technologies for the purposes of filing lawsuits and extracting settlements.
The emergence of these small players on the IT market over the last decade has changed the dynamic for big companies, who traditionally held large portfolios of patents and traded them with others making products, lawyers say. Unlike traditional competitors, these patent-holding companies don’t make products and aren’t interested in striking deals, just litigating.
The tech giants and their allies in Congress have been working for eight years to reform patent laws to address what they see as a costly impediment to innovation, and they are closer than ever to passing legislation known as the Patent Reform Act of 2007 that among other things could limit damages in patent lawsuits. Read more