Patent infringement lawsuits filed by non-practicing entities, also known as pantent trolls, continue to rise in the U.S. Almost any business that uses basic technology is a possible target of patent trolls -- the result of a patent system that has done a terrible job of evaluating software patents and a court system that hasn't done much better at examining them. In some cases, trolls are even forcing business owners to choose between paying employees and paying legal fees.
As of late, these evil trolls have made their way out from under the bridge to the top of the country’s political and judicial agenda. Over the last two years, the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, the Patent and Trademark Office and a White House task force have all launched studies on this issue. In January, President Barack Obama even trumpeted the need for patent reform to curb "needless litigation" -- a veiled reference to trolls -- in his State of the Union address.