More than 10% of patent litigation in America comes from so-called patent trolls. If you or one of your clients have ever received a letter from one of these outfits, you understand the problem. You read the patent claims referenced in the letter and they bear no resemblance to your clients products. If you try to engage the patent troll and explain this, they’ll have no part of it. They don’t want to talk about the merits of your case, just how much you must pay them to go away. This is made possible because of the high cost of patent litigation. It’s cheaper to pay the troll than to fight it out in court.
It looks like the problem has finally reached the Federal Circuit who is inclined to more liberally use Rule 11 sanctions. http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2012/12/09/troll-turning-point-federal-circuit-breathes-life-into-rule-11/id=31108/. Recently, another company fought back using the RICO statute. I applaud these efforts and hope that they continue. Until companies have a way to fight back–by hitting the trolls and their attorneys where it hurts, nothing is going to happen.