Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company that enforces its patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic. A related, less pejorative expression is non-practicing entity (NPE) which describes a patent owner who does not manufacture or use the patented invention.[1]

* 1 Definition and etymology
* 2 Causes
* 3 Effects
* 4 Mechanics
* 5 Defenses
* 6 Criticism of the term
* 7 Non-practicing entity
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Other sources

[edit] Definition and etymology

"Patent troll" is a controversial neologism, susceptible to numerous definitions, none of which are considered satisfactory from the perspective of understanding how patent trolls should be treated in law.[2] Definitions include a party that:

* "Purchases a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sues another company by claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent;"[3]
* Enforces patents against purported infringers without itself intending to manufacture the patented product or supply the patented service;[4][5]
* Enforces patents but has no manufacturing or research base;[6] or
* Focuses its efforts solely on enforcing patent rights.[7]
* Do not research or develop the technology or products related to their patent but wait for others to invent and market products independently, suing only after the newcomers are locked into the technology.[8]

The term was used as early as 1993 to describe companies that file aggressive patent lawsuits.[3] The Patent Troll was depicted and originally popularized in "The Patents Video" which was released in 1994 and sold to hundreds of corporations, universities and governmental entities. In "The Patents Video," an unsuspecting victim is surprised by the Patent Troll who strategically positioned himself to collect patent licensing revenue.[9] Years later, it was again popularized in 2001 by Peter Detkin, former assistant general counsel of Intel,[10] who applied it to entities that purchase patents at low prices from inventors, rather than inventing or actively developing a technology themselves, then broadly assert the patents across an industry to encourage settlements.[11]