What SMEs Can Do When Patent Trolls Come Calling

Does the sender of the demand letter strongly imply or threaten legal action? That’s another clue you are dealing with a patent troll, not a legitimate patent owner. Proper notice letters invite negotiation. Only someone trying to intimidate you would threaten litigation.

“Only when our industry acts to curb abuses in its own backyard can we begin to restore public trust in our patent system as a national engine of economic progress and competitiveness.”

Does the sender of the demand letter give you an unreasonable time frame in which to respond? Legitimate notice letters should provide ample time for you to investigate the allegations of patent infringement and reach your own conclusions.

How about a demand for money? That’s the biggest red flag. Legitimate notice letters ask for a conversation, not a check. They invite you to discuss the evidence of infringement—which should be clearly documented—and give you a chance to respond.

We believe that only when our industry acts to curb abuses in its own backyard can we begin to restore public trust in our patent system as a national engine of economic progress and competitiveness.

Former USPTO director David Kappos once described the patent system as America’s 401(k) plan. As a vital guarantor of our nation’s economic future, the patent system certainly warrants that description. Let’s not forfeit that future by allowing patent trolls to corrupt it today.