Troll or No Troll? Policing Patent Usage With an Open Post-Grant Review

By: David G. Barker

In December 2004, a mystery business, JGR Acquisitions Inc., purchased the patent portfolio of bankrupt Commerce One at auction. Commerce One had not previously enforced the acquired patents and many companies were using the patented technologies at the time of the auction. Patent watchdog groups argued that JGR–a potential patent troll formed solely to purchase Commerce One’s patents–should not be able to use the patents as a vehicle to extract licensing fees and that the patents should lapse into the public domain. Under current law, however, there is no provision for patents to be invalidated merely because they are used in a manner that discourages innovation. This iBrief argues that in order to keep patent trolls from stifling innovation and to protect legitimate patent holders, the Patent and Trademark Office should require an open post-grant review whenever patents are renewed or sold.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0009