Hatch: Kill Patent Trolls for Good

In an op-ed for Wired, Sen. Orrin Hatch calls for legislation to protect small and mid-sized businesses and startups from patent trolling lawsuits.

Writes Hatch:

Since 2011, Overstock.com, from my home state of Utah, has been targeted by 28 so-called patent “trolls,” seeking to enforce vague patents. Often these trolling lawsuits come from shell corporations that don’t make or sell anything. Because Overstock refuses to settle such abusive suits, it ends up spending millions of dollars in litigation costs.

Mark Griffin, Overstock’s senior vice president and general counsel, explained why the company prefers to go to court, saying that patent trolls eventually find companies that litigate such claims “unappetizing.” He said “while we have the highest respect for intellectual property rights, we don’t settle abusive patent suits—we fight.”

Overstock has the means to fight back, but many cash-poor Silicon Valley startups are not as fortunate.