Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Guarding legitimate patents from frivolous lawsuits

As some New Jersey patent holders may know, filing and receiving a patent is a labor-intensive effort. It requires a written application along with a clear description of the invention. The invention must be new and not previously documented or patented. If it is not new, the application is denied. In order to be approved, the patent application is reviewed by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office in addition to a complete search of the topic and any prior art relevant to the subject.

In 2015, the number of patent lawsuits increased by 13 percent from the preceding year. Approximately two-thirds of the lawsuits were filed by patent trolls who purchased patents without making a product. In the event that a company or individual files an application for a product, the patent trolls are able to file a lawsuit claiming that they had the idea first.

This ties up patents or forces the inventor to settle with the patent troll. A website is trying to stem this activity. Its creator, an artist and roboticist, said it is a way to offset patents that are considered frivolous. The website systematically captures all text on most subjects in the U.S. patent database. This compendium hopefully may be of use to the USPTO. According to the creator, two patent examiners have already visited the site. However, some observers feel that the new website might cause more confusion and complicate the patent process even more.

In the event that a patent is challenged by patent trolls, a patent law attorney may review the case to determine the validity of the challenge. Legal counsel might help the inventor by demonstrating that the invention is original or that the lawsuit is frivolous.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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Flanders, NJ 07836

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