ARC Excess & Surplus, LLC offers insurance designed to defend your business against a new menace: the Patent Troll.
Whether or not your business is heavily invested in patents of your own, you could find yourself the target of a Patent Troll – entities whose business model is built and based solely on suing for patent infringement.
Patent troll companies don’t actually produce anything – they buy up patents wherever they can – the more vague or complex the better – and then go about seeking to collect “licensing fees” from the alleged violator in exchange for dropping the threat of legal action.
Almost any kind of business is at risk of being targeted – especially businesses the trolls believe do not have the resources to engage in litigation.
Often times the patent infringement claim is baseless, but, says Chris Quirk, Esq., ARC’s own, in-house U.S. Patent Attorney, “the Patent Trolls know that most companies will find it quicker and cheaper to settle on a fee to make the problem go away, rather than fight it out in court.” Quirk notes that a typical patent law case is likely to be tied up in the courts for 2 to 5 years, at a cost of $2 to $6 million in legal fees. Most companies know this or quickly find out just how long and costly defense is, so, Patent Trolls have “made a lucrative” business out of the threat of patent litigation,” comments Quirk.
The patent troll problem has been going on since the 1990’s, but really took off around the time of the economic crisis of 2008-09 and has grown rapidly since, affecting more businesses year after year.
The trend is real: patent litigation is expected to hit an all time high in 2015 once all the stats are in, and over two thirds (68%) of this activity now comes from Patent Trolls, according to data from Unified Patents.
What’s a business to do to protect itself? Ideas for reform are and have been talked about in the halls of Congress, but in practice there is a fine line between protecting legitimate patent holder grievances, and creating protections that would deter Patent Trolls. With no easy end to the Patent Troll trend in sight, ARC has researched and identified quality insurance policies available to protect companies in the event of patent infringement claims.
Says Quirk, “If you can defend in court, the Patent Troll almost always goes away. They don’t want the expense of litigation, since 4 out of 5 times they lose the lawsuit.” So, a Patent Infringement Defense policy provides insurance coverage for your legal fees if a patent infringement claim is made. With this policy, companies are armed with the best possible defense against Patent Trolls; ability to defend themselves in court, rather than simply acquiesce to the demand for licensing fees.
In addition to the Patent Troll Defense products, many businesses should also consider a Patent Abatement policy — designed for patent owners who want to be able to take legal action to pursue legitimate infringements. This type of policy is a must-have for businesses whose products or services depend on patents it owns. After all, what good is a patent if the holder is unable to enforce it?
Whether you want to protect yourself from baseless patent infringement claims, or take steps to protect and enforce patents you already own, or both, the patent-related policies need to be strongly considered by businesses of all kinds. At ARC, this group of policies is under the direction of Chris Quirk, Esq., a licensed patent attorney who has practiced in the field for over 3 years and now brings his expertise to the insurance side. “Patent law is complex and effects every company differently,” says Quirk. “Here at ARC we can not only get our customers the right insurance policy, but also provide a lot of knowledge and understanding on the practical aspects of patent law.”