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Debunking myths about patent 'trolls'

During the ongoing patent reform debate, those who oppose improvements to the patent system have made some eyebrow-raising claims. For example, instead of acknowledging that the patent system could be improved by strengthening patent protection, they insist that any change to the way things are now will only harm patent holders. The claim is specious. Others have claimed that only 1 percent of patent claims go to trial, intentionally missing the point that, in part, the statistic highlights the problem. While glibly referring to all entities that staunchly defend their property rights as "patent trolls" is an overgeneralization, there are those who abuse the patent system to harass innocent actors. And this kindles cynicism about the patent system and intellectual property protection in general.

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