eginning Dec. 1, it became a hell of a lot harder for patent trolls to file their bogus lawsuits seeking to extort money from companies that actually make things.
In the past, a no-name LLC or non-practicing entity could file a series of vaguely defined patents, choose not to do anything with them, and then wait until another company with a clear idea and vision came along to bring a product to market. Then, the patent troll would threaten to take the second company to court in hopes of making money on the claims that their original patent had been violated.Certain legal districts, like one in East Texas, were notoriously receptive to these sorts of claims, which led many of the patent trolls to officially set up shop in the area.
After years of bullying legitimate companies out of their hard earned profits, though, new rules put in place by the Judicial Conference of the U.S. are making it more difficult for patent trolls to make their dirty money. Parts of the law that allowed patent trolls to file claims without detailing what aspect(s) of their patents had actually been violated were slated to be removed.
In response to the impending crackdown on bogus claims, the number of lawsuits filed by patent trolls spiked dramatically in the last two weeks of November.
As Ars Technica points outs, 249 separate cases were filed on Nov. 30 alone and 195 of them were filed by questionable LLCs in the Eastern District of Texas.