This patent application, just published two weeks ago, has got to be one of the more ludicrious ones that the US Patent and Trademark Office has seen in a long time. It’s titled: “Patent Acquisition and Assertion by a (Non-Inventor) First Party Against A Second Party”
Essentially, it’s a method patent on how to be a patent troll! As if that wasn’t enough, Halliburton’s (yes, that Halliburton) explanation to the AmLaw Daily, courtesy of the WSJ Law Blog, for why they filed the application was that they did it as a defense against patent trolling.
“So, infers AmLaw Daily, Halliburton wants to patent patent trolling so it can block patent trolls.”
How great is that?! I’m just waiting for Halliburton’s patent application on a method to get paid in full on no-bid contracts from a government without actually fulfilling the terms of the contracts. At least in that case, they’d be practicing the patent.
So what’s a patent troll?
A patent troll is an entity, often without a manufacturing or R&D interest, that buys a patent for the purpose of suing another company for infringement. There are multiple variations on this model including, for some, a legitimate interest in protecting IP rights that they own, where the “troll” would rather be called a “patent holding company”.
According to the handy-dandy flow chart figures by the “inventor”, Clive D. Menezes, the method can be as simple as a 4-step process.
- Grant to a first party an equity interest in the patent property
- Assert through the first party infringement of a claim within the scope of the patent property, the claim covering a product of a second party where the product includes a secret aspect
- Obtain a monetary settlement from the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim
- Distribute proceeds from the monetary settlement to at least one of the first party and the inventor