joined the Villanova faculty in 2010 from the West Virginia University College of Law, where he directed the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Law Program. Prior to joining the West Virginia faculty, he served as an Olin Fellow in Law at Stanford Law School. Professor Risch’s teaching and scholarship focus on intellectual property and internet law, with an emphasis on patents, trade secrets and information access.
The reach of the veil piercing is also unprecedented. The proposal implies that an inventor who assigns to other companies that make no products and stand to make a royalty is an interested party. Think about that – we are no longer considering charging just investors or shell company owners with attorneys’ fees. Instead, the proposal would pierce the veil all the way down to the inventor that assigned the patent to his or her employer. If this broad a reading seems unreasonable, consider the recent manager’s amendment, which clarifies to exclude lenders, because the language is so broad it might have included lenders before.
I was surprised about how wrong my own intuition was, which is why I focus on the myths about patent trolls. Just about everything we thought we knew – good or bad – does not appear to be true. The article may not change too many minds about patent trolls. Those who believe NPEs are bad for society won’t care much about where they came from. However, I think that NPEs are a reflection of inventive society — their patents come from all sorts of sources, and how we feel about NPEs should depend on how we feel about the people who invested in the research that create the patents and the role patent law played in innovation.