A Case Study of Patent Abuse: Printing Industry Faces New Nemesis Impacting Growth and Employment —Patent Trolls


TASA ID: 7210

This research was not sanctioned or funded by any university, private or public company. It is meant to educate and inform on a matter that is negatively impacting the growth, development, and survival of companies in the printing and related industries, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and equipment distributors.


Patent trolls, the epitome of greed, thoughtlessness, and unethical behavior, are impacting the survival, growth, and development of printing and related companies.

The printing industry in the United States has been in a state of decline over the past 20 years (from approximately 55,000 companies to under 30,000 today). Traditionally a low-profit industry, printing companies and their suppliers are trying to find ways of increasing products and services focusing on digital technologies and related applications in order to increase profits and to save jobs. Patent trolls are inhibiting such growth and are causing companies to consider closing, downsizing, and laying off employees because they cannot afford to absorb the huge fees being demanded by the trolls, while also maintaining or growing business. The trolls are equivalent to extortionists with no sense of business morals and ethics, or of the nation’s push to grow companies, produce jobs, and keep or bring back as much business as possible to the United States.

The hypothesis of this study is that companies faced with the threat of patent troll litigation should not settle by paying license fees, but should partner in pooling resources to pursue invalidation of the patents in question. Such challenges are often won, and between 35 percent and 85 percent of patents being invalid has been reported.

The research methods used in this study include a review of the related literature, a case study of three patents of questionable validity claimed by two patent troll plaintiffs to be infringed upon by printing industry companies, and a survey of present defendants and those who were already sued and opted to settle out of fear and intimidation.

This study concludes that printing and related companies sued by patent trolls should not settle by paying the fees requested and should not enter into a single-company litigation that can cost more than a settlement. Giving in to patent troll license fees or other demands will exacerbate the problem and encourage additional intimidating and threatening lawsuits in an attempt to extort funds from companies doing honest and legal business, working hard to survive and grow, and provide employment opportunities for skilled staff members. A solution is bringing together all of the companies named in a suit that has been filed by patent trolls, and to work as a unit in bringing the matter of alleged patent infringements before the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for invalidity hearings.


TASA Article Disclaimer

This article addresses issues of general interest and does not give any specific legal or business advice pertaining to any specific circumstances.  Before acting upon any of its information, you should obtain appropriate advice from a lawyer or other qualified professional.

This article may not be duplicated, altered, distributed, saved, incorporated into another document or website, or otherwise modified without the permission of TASA.

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