Patent Trolling In South Carolina

EFFORT TO END ABUSIVE PRACTICE RUNS INTO SPECIAL INTEREST ROADBLOCK Some pretty powerful forces are massing in South Carolina over a piece of legislation aimed at blocking patent trolls. Wait … what in the hell is a “patent troll?” Glad you asked. A patent troll is a company that exists…


Some pretty powerful forces are massing in South Carolina over a piece of legislation aimed at blocking patent trolls.

Wait … what in the hell is a “patent troll?”

Glad you asked. A patent troll is a company that exists for the sole purpose of targeting businesses with aggressive litigation over … well, patents. Do the patent trolls actually produce anything? Like a product or a service? Of course not. They’re what are referred to in the business as NPE’s – or “non-practicing entities.” They don’t make anything – nor do they have any intention of ever making anything. Their purpose is extorting money from target defendants – threatening them with costly lawsuits (often without evidence of infringement).

How does it work?

Easy: Patent trolls send “demand letters” to their targets knowing they cannot afford to litigate against any action brought against them. Whether the recipient decides to settle out of court or fight the allegation before a judge and jury – the patent trolls always win. Business is booming, too, as a recent University of Boston study found that patent trolling cost the U.S. economy $29 billion in 2011.

Attempting to block patent trolls in the Palmetto State is S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay (R-S.C.). Finlay has introduced legislation – H. 4371 – which would provide protections against these abusive entities.

Finlay’s legislation – which mirrors bills being advanced in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia – doesn’t address the validity of the patents in question, it simply creates a “bad faith” cause of action related to certain assertions of patent infringement. In other words a legitimate company whose patent has been violated by a competitor would still be able to sue and collect damages.

Patent trolls, on the other hand, would be out of luck …

Finlay’s bill passed the S.C. House and has cleared a committee in the State Senate. Unfortunately, after it left the Senate committee a powerful special interest – the S.C. Manufacturers’ Alliance – began supplying language to Senators and staff endeavoring to create a “safe harbor” for patent trolls in our state.

Not only that the language the manufacturers’ offered was reportedly tied to Caterpillar – a company that’s in the process of ditching South Carolina.

We understand the need for businesses to protect their proprietary information – and the inventions and processes that enable them to make profits and create jobs. But the patent troll “industry” isn’t about protecting such businesses (or their jobs) – its about attacking businesses that aren’t big enough to defend themselves.

Accordingly, we urge Senators to pass Finlay’s original bill and reject efforts by special interests to water down its protections.

UPDATE: Want to learn more about this issue? We were just forwarded a few videos explaining more about this issue. Take a look …

What is Patent Trolling?

An example of Patent Trolling …

What can be done to stop patent trolling in SC?

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ELCID May 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm

As a patent holder myself, I find these trolls some of the most despicable people on Earth. They are just slugs sucking the blood out of inovation. They create nothing and due to the poorly written US Patent Laws have the ability to patent ideas: not devices. No mater how ridiculous the idea, they can patent every way to make it happen. Thank goodness these trolls were not around in the late 1800s. Or, automobiles would never have been invented. Because, a troll would have patented it in the 1500s with the idea that ox carts could move on their own, with no idea of how to accomplish that feat. Just the idea that it might happen in the future. That’s how troll patent scum operate. Total CRAP!!

Proof Reader strikes May 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm

How about a mater sandwich with that?

ELCID May 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Engineers can’t spell.
Otherwise, we would have been English teachers.
Therefore, confirmation of my profession.

euwe max May 7, 2014 at 8:13 pm

HEY! I can spell!

Karadion May 7, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Patent trolls tried to sue Henry Ford and lost. The Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers were nothing but a bunch of morons holding patents to the automobile and tried to stop Ford.

jimlewisowb May 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

No difference between a patent troll and their first cousin the legislator cockroach

fuck’em, fuck’em all

Smirks May 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm

It would be nice if you could just send a simple, courteous reply to patent trolls. You know, something like:

Dear Sir(s) and/or Madam(s),

You are hereby invited to my place of business, at your leisure anytime during business hours, and are allotted to the free kissing of my bare, white, hairy ass, so long as I am given sufficient time to visit the nearest Mexican restaurant to consume vast quantities of gas-inducing food to adequately prepare for the event. Each individual in attendance will be allotted one (1) puckering of their lips against my volatile flatulence-holding butt cheeks, however requests for additional pecks may be considered depending on the methane supply.

Enclosed is a picture of my ass. If you are unable to find a suitable time to visit, please feel free to kiss the photo instead.

Have a blessed day,
_______________________________ <- Signature goes here.

euwe max May 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Do libertarians believe in “intellectual property?”

Deo Vindice SC May 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Yep, Benghazi, benghazi, benghazi. Lame idiots will be eating Democrap for 10 years at least.

SenseLikeChaps May 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

You mean the grey goop that blurs the distinctions between trademarks, patents, and copyrights in order to provide further protections for entrenched players in a given field?

euwe max May 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm


Deo Vindice SC May 7, 2014 at 5:53 pm

SC government has a patent. GOP rules, end of story.

fred May 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Excuse me, but the genesis who wrote this inane article should do he or she’s research. It is not the University of Boston, but Boston University. Typical of you yahoos that attended Clumson or South Carolina. Keep up the good work.

aikencounty May 9, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Patent trolls, is that a smaller version of Mitt and Bain Capital?

Mike May 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm

A Columbia entrepreneur is leading the fight against Patent Trolls… and it’s costing him big bucks… maybe millions by the time it’s over. Check it out –


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