Patent Trolls Statistics, will Europe escape the trolls?

Patent Troll Tracker tracks patent litigation. Read their year end’s rundown on some numbers concerning patent litigation. The Troll Tracker looks at the Fortune 100 (top 100 US companies in terms of revenues) to see who got sued the most for patent infringement, and found that the top 35 companies were sued a combined 500 times for patent infringement in the last two years alone. TechDirt refers to this amount as “an awful lot of money wasted on lawyers that could be going towards actual innovation”. However, I wish there is a clear 1-to-1 relationship between patents and innovation. Intuitively we think of innovation unthinkable without patents. However, history has shown that innovation is achieved in areas where patents are rare or seldom used.Patent Troll Tracker uses the term “non-practicing entities” or NPEs defined as “entities that don’t make any products”. PTT asserts that of the lawsuits over the past two years, approximately 50% came from NPE’s. However, in the last 3 months, according to PTT, “that number shoots up to 70% from companies that don’t make products. And if you limit the list to tech companies, 80% of the lawsuits came from companies that don’t make products”.TechDirt wonders: “shouldn’t this be ringing some alarm bells?” We have a similar contemplation: Will 2008 bring the same troll trend in Europe? We already reported a few times on Sisvel, Europe’s largest patent troll. However, the American companies that focus on patents, whether they qualify as a NPE, such as Gemstar, the newly acquired patent troll of Macrovision, may use 2008 to assert their patents in Europe based on the use of various electronic programming guides. 2008 also show an increase in NPE patent assertion activity in Europe, no doubt. Would be interesting to see if anyone in Europe, like PTT, can do some research on this.

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