Large businesses, especially those found guilty of patent infringement, malign N.P.E.s – which they call “trolls,” by claiming that the N.P.E.s are asserting invalid or trivial patents and are, thereby, perverting the patent system. Well, we now have a scholarly study, conducted by independent researchers, which refutes this rant. (Patent Trolls on Markets for Technology – An Empirical Analysis of Trolls’ Patent Acquisitions by Timo Fischer and Joachim Henkel of the Technical University of Munich.)
Their paper, which runs to 21 pages plus charts, tables and a three-page list of references, reaches some very significant conclusions:
1. “… patent trolls acquire patents of higher quality than practicing firms do.”
2. “ … trolls may have a positive effect by inducing corporations to more carefully respect the patent rights of financially or otherwise constrained inventors, since these may seek the help of trolls to enforce their rights.”
3. “… in cases where infringement is deliberate, the occurrence of patent trolls might help to fix another inefficiency of the patent system; namely, the difficulty for financially constrained inventors to enforce their rights.”
So, it appears that trolls are actually good guys, the Robin Hoods of the patent world. Take THAT, you scum-sucking corporations!
All patents go through the same examination process and only if a patent matches the requirements it will be granted. (first come, first serve). International patents have gone through this process several times.
Innovators at large companies are bound by the R&D policies of the enterprise and as a result they are apparently less effective than small inventors.
Enterprises should deal with this inefficiency in their organisations rather than using their PR machine to bad mouth small, independent innovators.
With the current externalisation trend it might well be that the best way of dealing with that is to welcome patents and inventions of small innovators, incorporate these in their offering and leverage the advantages to create share holder value or win market share.
The concept of smart money is conventional wisdom at the stock market. The 'dum money' pays for their profits. Why should the smart money/ people not be entitled to the same. The law at least says they are
Corporations Don't Directly Invent, Most Inventors Don't Directly Practice
Under existing US patent law (35 USC 101), only natural persons qualify as a "Whoever" who can invent and obtain a patent therefor.
Corporations are not natural persons and thus they cannot invent or directly get a patent. The true human inventor "assigns" his/her patent rights over to the corporation by way of contract. Even then, the name(s) of the human inventors must be listed on the face of all US patents because it is a vital part of US patent law to give due attribution to the true inventors for having originated the work product and thus contributed to the general welfare of the nation.
With that said, it should be observed that few originating inventors, even in large corporations, actually "practice" their own inventions. It is only after having purchased/taken the patent rights from the original non-practicing inventors (NPEs) by way of assignment that the corporation doles out the task of actually "practicing" the invention to other members of the corporate body.
In other words, essentially all inventors are "Non Practicing Entities" (NPEs). However, that pejorative and the more vile "troll" are specially reserved for tagging-on upon only those rare few individuals who choose not to be part of the greater Borg collective. Interesting.