(This article first appeared on IPWatchDog)

At least $17 million. That is what my Bunch O Balloons patent has cost so far. It could grow to $50 million. Yes, we are talking about water balloons, not smartphones.

How can this be? Because the patent grant issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office means nothing to infringers like Telebrands and Walmart. They simply ignore the patent and rush to take over the market with their knock-offs (Balloon Bonanza in 2015, Battle Balloons in 2016, and Easy Einstein Balloons in 2017). Then they use those revenues to hire attorneys and experts to say the patent is invalid. If the patent owner lacks deep pockets or good lawyers, his patent will not survive. If he does have access to infinite funds, he has about a 5 percent chance of survival thanks to the America Invents Act (AIA) and the USPTO‚Äôs implementation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

To read the rest of Josh Malone’s Article, click here.