More than 50 years ago, a man named Jerome Lemelson came to an understanding of the patent system quite different from his predecessors. Lemelson patented everything he could think of – and prepared his patents in a very broad sense and sometimes left them pending for many years. At times, he had over 200 employees – none of them in manufacturing; none in administration; none in sales - but rather he maintained an army of patent attorneys and other patent support staff. They understood that broad patents, with their 'presumption of validity', were far more effective at attracting revenue via license royalties than the best executed business plans and most efficient factories - which actually involve producing something. Lemelson was collecting greater than $200 million per year at the height of executing this scheme. All very legal; but certainly taking advantage of a weakness in the patent system.
Lemelson's patent activities actually spawned copycat schemes of 'patent enforcement entities'. Unlike Lemelson, Patent Enforcement Entities don't bother with thinking up good ideas and getting broad patents for them; but rather they simply buy or otherwise acquire junk patents in the open market. Patent Enforcement Entities, are sometimes more affectionately known as 'Patent Trolls'. A patent troll unfairly waves the heavy hand of presumption of validity to force legitimate businessman into license relationships which might not be justified by the true nature of patent protection to which the patent holder is actually entitled. This is because even where a patent's scope is VERY narrow, the prospect of litigation is most certainly going to exceed $250,000 in the first steps towards any patent contest (nice way of saying: 'litigation'). Where a single patent can be used against an entire class of alleged infringers, these numbers multiply quickly.
In view of a very recent United States Supreme Court decision KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc. et al, the High Court further cast serious doubt upon many thousands of patents; thereby creating many thousands of additional junk patents. Prior to that decision, a patent examiner had to prove: a 'teaching', 'suggestion', or 'motivation' was found in the prior art to justify certain rejections based upon 'obviousness'. Failing this, a patent would be granted. Because the new decision removes this substantial standard, all patents granted under the assumption of being non-obvious due to lack of finding: 'teaching', 'suggestion', or 'motivation' - are now in question. That is, we now have more junk patents than ever before.
In most simple terms, many of these junk patents, patents which nevertheless must be presumed valid by the courts, are in fact nothing more than garbage. But, the Patent Trolls easily use these garbage patents to unfairly extract millions from licensees everyday. At Integrity IP, we offer Troll Buster™ solutions and services directed to breaking these junk patents which were unfairly granted. Troll Buster™ services aim to provide means for attacking patents which are unfairly broad, invalid, obvious, and never should have been issued in the first place. Troll Buster™ services can include: prior art searches; USPTO re-examination requests; among other validity considerations.Integrity IP Troll Buster™ services are most useful for those faced with a person claiming a patent infringement position on a patent of questionable validity. Call us today to find out if your circumstance will benefit from a re-examination of a patent being unfairly enforced upon you.