A non-practicing entity or patent assertion entity — pejoratively referred to as a patent troll — is an individual or company that brings a patent infringement claim in an effort to collect licensing fees in connection with a product or service not actually manufactured or provided by the non-practicing entity. A non-practicing entity (NPE) could also be a research laboratory, inventor or development company that provides patents to licensees prior to a product being manufactured.
San Jose-based Adobe Systems Inc. recently prevailed in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by a non-practicing entity — Digital Reg — based in Texas. Many companies opt to settle these kinds of suits by paying licencing fees, thereby avoiding protracted and costly legal proceedings, but Adobe reportedly has a policy not to settle meritless patent infringement claims. In this case, a jury concluded that Digital Reg’s patents were invalid.
Specifically, the jury found that Adobe had not infringed on two patents because the technology in question was obvious. Digital Reg had initially sought $65 million in the case, but the amount was later lowered to $15 million.
Adobe’s legal fees in the case reportedly came to $3 million.
When interviewed by Inside Counsel, Adobe vice president of intellectual property Dana Rao called on Congress to enact patent reform to help businesses avoid wasteful litigation. You can read more about this particular case here.
Whatever your intellectual property concerns are, it is important to have an experienced legal team on your side to protect your interests. In many cases, it is possible to avoid costly litigation and resolve the matter out of court. In other cases, you may need a team of skilled litigators to fight on your behalf.