Patent trolling pays: Since 2010, trolls have made 3 times as much money in court as real companies

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Who deserves more money from a jury: a company that uses its patents to sue a competitor using its technology? Or a band of lawyers and investors that sues whole industries through shell companies?

The answer is the latter group — who are better known as patent trolls. In the latest depressing indictment of the U.S. patent system, this chart shows how, from 2010-2013, so-called “non-practicing entities” (trolls) cashed out at three times the rate of real companies:

Patent troll screenshot

The chart shows how the median damage awards for trolls was $8.5 million, which is just one of many sobering statistics published by the law firm Goodwin Procter as part of a manual that provides tips for fighting patent trolls.

Michael Strapp, a partner at Goodwin and one of the guide’s authors, explained by phone that the disproportionate damage awards for trolls is the result of several factors.

These include the economic model of…

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