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Welcome to the Patent Billy Goat

Jason Schwent, CIPP/US February 21, 2014

Welcome to The Patent Billy Goat! My name is Jason M. Schwent. I am a registered patent attorney and a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP in St. Louis. My legal practice is centered on intellectual property litigation, licensing technology, and advising clients on intellectual property protections.

Through my experience in patent litigation, I have come to know patent assertion entities (PAEs) or “patent trolls. For several years now, I’ve found myself adverse to patent trolls in litigation across the country. I know their tactics, and I know the ways they use the patent law to benefit themselves. It’s this experience that I bring to this blog.

In the fairy tale “The Billy Goats Gruff,” three billy goats are confronted by a nasty troll who attempts to extort a toll from each of the goats crossing a bridge. The three goats use their intellect, strategy, and, where required, their brute strength, to ultimately defeat the troll.

In the patent world, patent trolls, like the nasty troll from the tale, spring upon unsuspecting businesses and, without warning, demand that the businesses pay an exorbitant licensing fee (or face expensive patent litigation) to continue practicing their business. A patent troll exploits the intricacies of patent law (and the fact that patent law advice is often expensive) to tip the field of battle in the troll’s favor. Faced with a lack of knowledge and resources to fight back, unsuspecting businesses and the sophisticated alike are left with little choice but to pay the troll’s extortive tolls.

But this does not have to be the case. Patent law need not be daunting and mysterious. And just like in the Billy Goats Gruff, through the right mix of intellect, strategy, and stubborn resolve, the playing field can be leveled.

This blog aims to do two main things: First, educate those unfamiliar with patent law or patent litigation with the basics of both, including:

  • How patents are obtained
  • How patents can be invalidated
  • How patents are infringed
  • How to evaluate claims of patent infringement
  • Strategies for overcoming accusations of patent infringement.

Second, for those who have some familiarity with patent law and patent litigation, this blog will provide information on the latest developments in the law and cutting-edge strategies in patent litigation.

I will offer tools for responding to cease and desist letters, reports, articles, and links to information on common patent trolls and their tactics. I will also provide articles and features on issues important to patent law. And, I’ll give periodic updates on the quite robust patent law reform efforts brewing in Congress.

If there’s anything you would like to see discussed on the blog, any questions you may have regarding patent law or patent litigation, or if you would like to contribute an article or post to the blog, please just let me know.

Jason Schwent is a partner in Thompson Coburn’s Intellectual Property group. He is the editorial director of the Patent Billy Goat. You can find Jason on Google+Twitter, and reach him at (314) 552-6291 or jschwent@thompsoncoburn.com.