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Robert L. Maier

Since the early 2000s, patent trolls—opportunists who obtained questionable patents and asserted those patents against large operating companies to extract nuisance value settlements, leveraging the high cost of patent litigation defense—have been a blight on the patent system in the United States. So impactful were they that Congress mobilized and President Obama enacted the America Invents Act in 2011, which, in part, was designed to curtail this kind of advantage taking. That statute, along with action by the U.S. Supreme Court, have been widely heralded as effective antidotes to the patent troll problem. Still, opportunists abound—as does the money that funds them—and may be leading to a shift from patent troll activity to troll-like activity in other, analogous types of high-tech litigation in the realms of privacy and cybersecurity.

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