HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
Quiz: Could you survive among the patent trolls?
by Staff
These days, high-tech innovators have to be able to navigate the tricky world of patent litigation. Would you be ready if a patent troll came knocking?

What is a patent troll?

  • a company that makes money licensing patents
  • a company that produces no products
  • both of these

What is a more polite term for a patent troll?

  • nonpracticing entity
  • patent purveyor
  • partnering participant

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office was established in which decade?

  • 1790s
  • 1890s
  • 1990s

When did the U.S. Patent Office begin patenting computer software?

  • 1989
  • 1998
  • 2008

True or false: Patents were never licensed until patent trolls came along.

  • true
  • false

In 1895, George B. Selden took out a patent for what device?

  • the buggy whip
  • the automobile
  • the first computer

According to a Boston University School of Law study, patent suits cost targeted companies a total of how much over 20 years?

  • $500 million
  • $5 billion
  • $500 billion

According to the Boston University study, what percentage of the losses sustained by companies targeted by patent suits wound up in the pockets of inventors?

  • 2 percent
  • 10 percent
  • 47 percent

Patent trolls mainly target which industry?

  • technology
  • automotive
  • entertainment

Which court is considered most sympathetic to plaintiffs in patent cases?

  • District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • The World Bank Court
  • The U.S. Supreme Court

What portion of patents contested in court are invalidated?

  • 2 percent
  • 11 percent
  • 40 percent

Patents that are vague about what they cover are referred to as what?

  • "fishy"
  • "fuzzy"
  • "frazzled"

What is the approximate number of patents applied for in a year?

  • 50,000
  • 500,000
  • 50,000,000

About how much does it cost to apply for a patent?

  • $250
  • $2,500
  • $25,000

How much time do Patent Office inspectors spend evaluating each patent application?

  • 16 hours
  • 3.5 weeks
  • 6 months

How many patents cover the technology that makes a smartphone work?

  • 250 patents
  • 1,870 patents
  • 250,000 patents

According to patent troll advocates, what advantages do they offer inventors?

  • They hire lots of inventors.
  • They license technology to inventors.
  • They give inventors a place to sell their ideas.

What portion of patent suits are settled out of court?

  • 33 percent
  • 67 percent
  • 97 percent

True or fase: Patent trolls usually target companies as soon as they are issued a patent.

  • true
  • false

What have large technology companies done to protect themselves against patent trolls?

  • purchased their own portfolios of patents
  • stopped using patented technology
  • increased their research budgets