I've spent the last 3 months full-time building an alpha version of a web app, and developing a business plan for it. The alpha version is ready to launch. Recently I've stumbled upon the fact that there's a large patent troll in the space.
I've been alarmed to see that trolls have been targeting -- and choking the roots of -- small startups (particularly after a VC investment) I'm not sure what my next move is.
The patent the troll holds is too very broad -- too broad to "build around". You know, one of those never-should-have-been-a-patent patents. So unlike a patent for, say, manufacturing a widget with Chemical A, where I could modify my widget-making process to instead use Chemical B, I feel this troll might go after us for being in the space at all.
What are the other options for a company without a legal department, to prepare for and potentially deal with trolls?
I'm willing to put in any necessary work to protect ourselves, so all suggestions welcome!
If there is a patent troll in your application space, there is no amount of work you can do to protect yourself from them. If you are doing something they think infringes on their patent, they can sue you. You will quickly find that patent law suits are unbelievably expensive. Your choice is to either fight it in court, either alone or with other affected companies, or to settle.
The patent troll will make sure that the cost to go to court is much greater than the cost to settle.