America Invents Act & Patent Trolls

Don Mart | ReadWrite Hack | March 19, 2013

Key parts of the America Invents Act (AIA), which passed in 2011, came into effect on March 16, 2013. These changes in U.S. patent law can help all companies that use software to protect themselves from patent trolls — those annoying boiler-room operations that shake down software developers and users for software patent licenses without actually producing anything with the patents they own.

Fortunately, many of the best practices for tracking new versions of software and other digital assets can also help protect you against patent trolls. It’s a good time to talk to your lawyer about a defensive strategy, and to connect that strategy to your version control and deployment systems to make sure you’re collecting and retaining all of the information that could help you under this new law.

There’s still more work to be done on the software patent problem. The proposed SHIELD Act is a good example of another way to deter trolls by making them pay legal fees if they lose.