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Cost of defending yourself against patent litigation

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[edit] Patent Freedom's numbers

Some numbers:

  • Dealing with a threat letter (an "assertion"): US$200,000.
  • Total costs incurred by defendants in 2009 in the USA: US$5 billion (excluding what was paid in settlements and judgements)

[edit] Effects

(This article is for documenting what the costs are, but I'd like to leave this note first.)

In software, where practitioners are often individuals and SMEs, the cost of defending oneself is impossible to pay. The courts form a necessary form of checks and balances in the patent system, and if practitioners can't make use of the courts, the patents system doesn't work for those people. There is thus no justice for software developers when they have to work within the patent system. (See: Why software is different)

[edit] Even when you win you lose: Paltalk v. Jagex

It is exceedingly unfortunate that the US legal system can force a company with a sole presence in Cambridge, UK to incur a seven-digit expense and waste over a year of management time on a case with absolutely no merit

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