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Is it a compliment to be called a troll?

Have you ever heard of calling someone a troll as a compliment?

A patent troll is a business that does not produce a product or sell anything.

Compliment?

Just the name patent troll should give you an idea of what most patent attorneys and business think about them. Have you ever heard of calling someone a troll as a compliment? If you have, you must live in a very unique society. For the rest of the world, a troll is a big, ugly, scary monster that wreaks havoc. 

What is a troll?

So what is this troll that lives in the world of patents? A patent troll is a business that does not produce a product or sell anything. So if the business does not make or sell anything, how do they stay in business? The patent troll business simply owns patents that it enforces against other companies. They sue companies that they believe are infringing their patents. As with all businesses, there can be good trolls and bad trolls.

So are patent trolls good or bad for startups and small businesses? It depends.

The Bad

If you are being sued by a patent troll it can be devastating to your startup or small business. However, patent trolls usually go for the deep pockets. If they put a startup or small business out of business then they don’t get any money. They will usually go after medium-sized companies or large companies that have the deep pockets to pay them. If they do go after small businesses, they are looking for a quick payoff and will typically move on.

The Good

The Good. If a larger business is infringing on your patents, as a startup or small business, you may not have the money to fight them in court. The big business drags things out in court, your startup or small business may not have the money needed to stay in the fight. However, if you have a strong patent that covers the product that the big business is ripping off, you may be able to license or sell your patent to a patent troll.

The patent troll will then sue the big business for infringement of your patent. Depending on the deal, they can help get the big business to stop knocking off your product and may even help you recoup some of the lost earnings.

So maybe for startups and small businesses, the term troll may become a compliment and your boyfriend/girlfriend can endearingly call you a troll. If not, patent trolls may at least be an option to help you stop bigger businesses from knocking off your product and running you out of business.

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