Raymond P. Niro


“Patent troll” has entered the legal lexicon, stirring up heated debates over fundamental issues of patent rights. This article discusses the etymology of the term “patent troll” —from its beginnings as a deliberately derogatory term thrust forward as a defense to weaken the enforcement of patents against large corporations to its current manifestation as a call for patent reform. Interestingly, statistics show the “patent troll” problem is grossly overstated compared to the contentions of the corporate world. Moreover, enforcement of patents stimulates small business growth, innovation, and dissemination of knowledge to the public. This article suggests Congressional diversion of PTO funding as a more pressing issue burdening an already overworked system, increasing the duration of patent prosecution and diminishing overall patent quality. Resolution of these issues will better serve to “promote the useful arts” than a misguided effort against “patent trolls.”