Regarding the Feb. 17 Point of View “ Putting a light on patent trolls”: I hope that Cree is successful in attempting to protect its innovations from copyists, but the current environment does not favor Cree or any patent rights holder.
Legislative actions in North Carolina and Congress, administrative proceedings at the Patent Office and recent case law have created an environment where patent rights are arguably the weakest in our country’s history. Many of these changes arose in the battle against “patent trolls” – loosely defined as patent holders who do not offer products or services (other than universities) but shake down operating entities for license fees.
By curtailing patent rights, corporations are winning the battle against trolls. But innovative companies like Cree seeking to enforce their patent rights may lose the war against competitors and particularly copyists. Apple could not stop Samsung.
Let’s hope Cree has more success. Otherwise, small businesses and investment in innovation will disappear.
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Robert Renke, Cary
The writer is the chief patent counsel for FlashPoint Technology Inc. in Raleigh.