Patent Trolls Are The Economy-Suffocating Exception To The 'No Free Lunch' Rule

15 Nov 2013

Forbes, By Charles Duan

When I was little, I was told that there was no such thing as a sure bet. In economics class, I learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch. But in law school, I learned that there is an exception to every rule.

Under our current system, patent trolls are the exception to the rules: they are getting a free lunch and they are winning sure bets, all to the tune of millions of dollars.

Patent trolls have nothing to lose when they sue others for patent infringement. Law firms will take the cases on contingency fee arrangements, so there are no legal fees to be paid. A successful plaintiff stands to win millions in court-awarded royalties—a PricewaterhouseCoopers study found a median award of $3.8 million to non-practicing entities in 2012—and the unsuccessful one can just walk away. For the patent troll, this is a game of all upside and no downside, of no risk and all reward. Read more.