By Goldie Blumenstyk. Last month Pennsylvania State University held an auction to sell dozens of engineering patents to the highest bidder, setting off speculation on whether the move would produce a financial windfall for the university. It also stirred consternation among some in the world of academic research, who feared the auction might create easy pickings for businesses known as “patent-assertion entities.” Such entities, also known as patent trolls or nonpracticing entities, scoop up rights to patents and then use them to assert infringement claims to unsuspecting companies, which often pay to settle rather than incur the cost of litigation. Read more...