IP Games and Naughty Patent Fights
And the game goes on, with sophisticated tactics and subterfuges. Some patent holders obfuscate their patent ownerships behind shell companies, including some large technology companies who find it useful to play the part of the NPE to harass competitors. Others use negotiations as fishing expeditions with the intent to prepare stronger cases in the court room – making escalations go even faster. Complaints are prepared before a first contact is made. Even those who would prefer to negotiate rather than sue are forced to sue to capture the attention of the accused infringer, many of whom simply refuse to discuss licensing or settlement unless they are sued. The IP game becomes a race to the courtroom. There are no obvious winners (except for the attorneys representing the parties) as legal fees keep escalating. Litigation could be avoided in many circumstances, but the IP game fosters a power struggle in which each party assumes the worst from the other and defends itself, at high legal expenses, against imaginary threats. Both sides, the users and owners of patented technologies, are antagonized.