While it seems many of the big names in technology - Apple, Google and Samsung - have grown tired of suing each other over frivolous patents, there still exists a far greater threat to innovation. I'm of course referring to patent assertion entities, commonly referred to as patent trolls.

These companies don't actually make or produce anything at all. Instead, they simply buy up a wealth of vague patents then scout the market to see who they can sue for alleged patent infringement. It's an unforeseen byproduct of vague software patents issued over the past decade or so that's gotten way out of hand.

It can be somewhat complicated to understand at times but fortunately, John Oliver recently outlined it in a rather humorous segment of Last Week Tonight.

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