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Debunking the 'Patent Troll' Myth

Innovation in the U.S. frequently fails to reward inventors. So-called patent trolls are evening the score

Utter the term "patent troll" in tech circles and you're likely to elicit a visceral reaction. Said trolls are companies that acquire patents and seek payment from companies they claim are infringing on those patents. They're viewed by many as blights on the tech landscape, looking to make money from patents that shouldn't have been granted in the first place, thereby forcing companies to spend billions of dollars in legal fees and slowing innovation. Even the more polite equivalent—nonpracticing entity (NPE)—suggests a company that fails to produce something of lasting value.

Both phrases are [Karl] Rovian in their ability to use emotional appeal to distract from the underlying issues, specifically the reasons why nonpracticing entities exist and may be vital to providing access to innovation.