Good news as recent court rulings have had direct impact on two publicly traded patent trolls, and a broader, desirable impact on the patent troll ‘industry.’
The collapse of VirnetX and Vringo is directly tied to those two court rulings, but there are also dark clouds gathering around the patent troll economy in general. In particular, a Supreme Court ruling in June has led a series of court decisions declaring that various software-related patents are invalid because they are no more than old ideas applied on a computer.
At the same time, another Supreme Court ruling has made it easier for the targets of patent trolls to recoup their legal fees. This finally introduced an element of risk for patent trolls, which are normally immune from counter lawsuits since they are structured as shell companies that contain no assets.
While it may be too soon to declare a cause and effect, three other troll companies have also been faltering since the Supreme Court rulings. Here is a chart of the performance of Interdigital, Rambus and Acacia, all of which appeared on a list of “Tech’s 8 Most Fearsome Patent Trolls.”