You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe



Who is a patent troll?

Obama calls nation’s techies to arms, but enemy is difficult to define

Last week, the Obama administration called the nerds of America to arms. The target: “patent trolls” — companies that buy up patents and then seek money from companies that infringe upon them. Trolls are blamed for everything from stifling innovation to skyrocketing legal costs, and the White House offered a laundry list of solutions, ranging from tougher scrutiny of new patents to more effective bans on patent-infringing products. Across the tech community, the plan was met with polite applause.

Scratch the surface, however, and many admit that it probably won’t make any difference. Innovation is complicated, and simplistically labeling companies as trolls is more likely to make things worse.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week