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When publishing mobile apps, both on Android and IOS, one has the choice of registering as an individual, or as a company -- presumably an LLC.

Is it legal to assert a patent against an individual who has no "registered" business entity?

If so, is there any precedent whereby an individual has been sued by a patent troll?

  • "or as a company -- presumably an LLC" uh, I don't think you become a company just by checking a box. I'rd rather assume that you have then checked that box wrongfully. – DonQuiKong Dec 17 '18 at 15:32
  • @DonQuiKong My consulting is done through an LLC. I could potentially sell an app as an individual. – Eric Shain Dec 17 '18 at 18:45
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Is it legal to assert a patent against an individual who has no "registered" business entity?

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe you are just as open to a infringement suit if you are an individual as a registered business. Indeed as an LLC you might be less of a target since that structure protects your family assets and makes you a less lucrative target.

If so, is there any precedent whereby an individual has been sued by a patent troll?

I'm not aware of one, but it is a well known tactic of trolls to target small business users of "infringing" technology. The idea is that small businesses using the technology are more likely to settle for small amounts than fight a suit compared to suing the large manufacturers. This page makes the following statement supporting the likelihood of suits against individuals.

Unlike operating companies that use their patents to produce and sell their product, patent trolls often acquire patents cheaply from bankrupt companies and do not use those patents in operations, but rather charge licensing fees to other businesses and individuals that appear to infringe upon a patent that they own.

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