According to the report UnifiedPatents, Defending Open Source: A 2022 Litigation Update, patient troll attacks on open-source projects are on track to increase 100 per cent since 2021.
The report states that by mid-year, on June 6th, patent attacks by trolls on open-source projects have already reached the total for 2021. Some of the best-known trolls are among the top 10 attackers.
Patent trolls are companies that acquire the right to one or more patents in order to profit from licensing or litigation, rather than producing their own goods or services.
Today, 71 per cent of all patent cases against open-source products are filed by trolls, who, rather than targeting small businesses that cannot afford to fight, target well-known technology companies such as Google, Samsung, and Apple.
Once they have the right to software patents, the trolls look for companies with successful commercial programs or use open-source software. They claim that the profitable software infringes their patent and therefore the company or group owes them money.
Since some courts, such as the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas rubber stamp patent lawsuits regardless of whether there is evidence or not, it does not matter whether the developers knew about the parent company or not.
To limit the activities of patent trolls, groups like Unified Patents, a consortium of companies fighting the trolls use an invalidation defense.
The sources for this piece include an article in ZDNET.