Well, I have spent the past half decade working on developing some manufacturing capability based partly on patents and intellectual product some engineer friends and I developed.
Only to find out, in the eleventh hour, after investing thousands of hours in development and tens of thousands of dollars in tooling and patent rights, that it just ain't going to happen right now.
Thanks in part to the dot com collapse, and trends established then, certain licensing firms created this idea of becoming “Non Producing Entities”, or NPE's. These firms purchased internet and telephony patents for pennies on the dollar and waited until someone used some piece of intellectual property which infringed on the patent, or close to it. And then sued them for intellectual property infringement.
While this might not be a bad strategy in theory, in practice it has become broader and more industry wide. Now, I am told, this practice is entering the “Green Tech” arena bigtime.
Patent Vultures, or more nicely put patent trolls have people on staff whose primary job is to search any new and innovative product against existing patents. If there is a close fit, these entities then file suit against the company producing the item, requiring substantial litigation, with many companies simply settling out of court to reduce costs, and taking this on the chin as “the cost of doing business”.
As I was told by the patent attorney my partner is using, if we put any new product line out for sale to the general public, we will be sued. Guaranteed. And we will have to go to court to defend ourselves. Even though some of these patents have been successfully defended in the past, and rights firmly established.
I don't have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on attorneys, so I'm pretty nervous and frustrated. Basically out of business before I can even hire anybody to produce the product.
So much for trying to save the planet and create a few jobs.