with Mindi Giftos and Andrew Schlidt
The controversy over “patent trolls,” which has been simmering for years, has finally heated up and caught the attention of state and federal legislators, attorneys general, and even President Obama. Patent trolls, or “patent assertion entities (PAEs),” are companies formed to purchase patents and then, without using them to produce any products, enforce the patents through licensing programs or litigation. PAEs are a type of non-practicing entity (NPE). The latter also can include universities or solo inventors that hold patents but do not produce or sell any products or services using their patented inventions.