John Oliver explained patent trolls in HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Legally binding dibs, and essential to business. Arriving on ABC’s Shark Tank without a patent is like showing up on America’s Top Model without knowing how to “smize” or “booty tooch”.
Patent trolls typically don’t invent anything, or sell anything they just buy patents and make their money shaking down companies that do. The expression is a discredit to actual trolls who at least control bridge access for goats and ask humans fun riddles, Oliver said. Of 4,700 patent lawsuits filed in 2012, 3,000 were from so-called patent trolls and the White House says they account for about 62% of patent lawsuits, Oliver claimed, citing reported clips by other news outlets — including CBS News which said this type of litigation has cost investors half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) since 1990. Oliver put that dollar figure in context, explaining that to lose other people that amount of money, Johnny Depp would have had to star in The Lone Ranger more than 100 times a year for 25 years.
The good news: there is cross party support for fixing this problem; a bill to wrangle patent trolls was introduced a couple years ago and passed the House by an overwhelming majority in Tk but never even made it to vote in the Senate because, Oliver suggested, lobbyists for groups including trial lawyers managed to keep the bill from moving forward. And letting trial lawyers to decide if there should be more baseless lawsuits is like putting raccoons in charge of making laws about garbage can placement.