George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Patent Trolls: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Rayburn House Office Building
  • Division: Civil Justice Academy

Program Description: Momentum is growing in Congress to enact patent legislation to address abusive patent litigation practices.  The concern is that patent licensing entities, known by the more popular term, “patent troll,” who own low-quality patents engage in deceptive practices with demand letters or exploit the high costs of patent litigation to extract nuisance settlements.  The issue has been called a top legislative priority with the introduction of legislation that President Obama has indicated he would sign.

Although economists dispute the extent and costs of abusive litigation practices by both plaintiffs and defendants, one thing is clear: patent litigation is very expensive. The total costs for both the plaintiff and defendant in litigating a claim of patent infringement to final court judgment can be as much as $5 million.

Proponents for the patent legislation say that “patent trolls” are exploiting these high civil litigation costs and that legislation is a necessary tort reform to address this abuse of the court system.  Other stakeholders in the innovation economy point out that the proposed changes to patent litigation apply to all owners of patented innovation, not just the bad actors, weakens property rights and thus undermines the innovation economy.

Are abusive lawsuits threatening US businesses with frivolous claims?  Are patent licensing companies “trolls” who exact unnecessary tolls on innovation or are they key market intermediaries who facilitate the innovation economy?  Should Congress take action and address this issue?

Please join us for a lively and informative discussion on patent trolls: the good, the bad and the ugly.


Adam Mossoff
Co-Director of Academic Programs and Senior Scholar, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property

Michael Risch
Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law

Eli Dourado
Director of Technology Policy Program and Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Moderator: Karen M. Czarnecki
Director, Education, Law & Economics Center

For More Information, Contact: Congressional Civil Justice Caucus Academy