Both countries [South Korea and France] have launched patent-acquisition companies, with the goal of helping domestic technology firms and possibly making some money in the process. China and Japan are making moves into the business too.
The South Korean and French firms, dubbed Intellectual Discovery and France Brevets, are similar to the handful of private patent-acquisition firms in the U.S. derisively called “patent trolls.”
The advent of state-sponsored intellectual property dealers adds a fresh geopolitical element to the debate about patent trolls and how to protect legitimate inventions without stifling innovation. It could also complicate efforts to improve global cooperation on trade-related matters such as online piracy and computer security.