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A shaky future for small entities in patents

Research shows that smaller businesses and non-profit groups will only have more hurdles to jump in the future years of U.S. patent law given Congress' latest proposals

Obtaining and asserting patents is a necessity for any business big or small seeking to retain control of its intellectual property, but complications in U.S. patent process — and, in part, the legislation thereof — have made it more difficult for smaller businesses. Those typically larger companies and groups that are linked with consistent and virulent pursuit of preserving their patents — otherwise known as "patent trolls" — seemingly hinder the process of innovation for others. And a recent study from IP researchers examines the role of patent legislation moving forward for "small entity patent filers" in regards to their new challenges with the U.S. Congress' proposals.

The role of the patent troll in effectively blocking small- to medium-sized businesses from obtaining and exercising patents is one that creates difficult IP realities for such companies, but is also excessively aggrandized by the media. Technology companies have been aggressive in the patent spotlight over the last year, particularly big names like Apple and Samsung, for spending too much of their budgets on patent "trolling" litigation instead of research and development. But whether or not the patent trolls are having a real impact on SMBs is still a matter of market research.

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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