by Ashli Weiss –
Patent trolls have increasingly targeted the end users of patent-encumbered technology rather than suing the companies that created the allegedly infringing products themselves. Apparel companies provide a useful example of the predicament faced by a variety of similarly situated, non-technology-oriented companies targeted by troll litigation. As high-profile end users of a variety of commercial technologies, apparel companies have proven to be popular targets for troll litigation. This article examines the apparel industry’s patent troll problem through the lens of historical context, in order to describe how non-technology companies expose themselves to liability by becoming dependent on third-party technology. It then uses lessons derived from the experiences of the apparel industry to make legislative recommendations.