The patent holder's dilemma: Buy, sell, or troll?

Patricia S. Abril, Robert Plant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The points which should be considered by IT patent holders while buying, selling, and trolling patented products are discussed. A patent is a government-granted monopoly given to an inventor as both a reward for their intellectual and financial investment and a stimulus to innovate. This monopoly includes the legal rights to exclude others from exploiting the invention in any way for a period of 20 years from the date the patent application was filed. The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is charged with methodically examining each patent application to select those that merit legal protection based on basic criteria of patentability as set out by the Patent Act. The invention must not have been preceded in identical form in the public prior art. It must have been disclosed such as to enable others to make and use the technology. The final requirement is that the invention must be within the list of patentable subject matter to reduce uncertainty in the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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