[t]he explosion in lawsuits [many apparently filed by patent trolls] has prompted not only the F.T.C. but other parts of the government — notably the White House — to question whether the activity of patent trolls violates antitrust law or fair competition regulations.
Courts may be the first to determine whether or not the activities of patent trolls - especially those with the most massive patent portfolios - violate the law. Whatever courts may decide under current law, it may not be long before new laws are passed to curb patent trolling. Our understanding of the costs and benefits of the patent system remains rudimentary. Until we better grasp the social utility of patents, knowing how best to regulate NPEs will be mere surmise.