(via New study, same authors: patent trolls cost economy $29 billion yearly | Ars Technica)
…The $29 billion number comes from measuring the more straightforward costs associated with fighting off patent troll suits: those include legal fees going to lawyers, and the licensing fees paid in tribute to make the trolls go away (which nearly always get paid). The findings come from a relatively small sample of 83 companies, both small and large.
The study paints one of the clearest pictures yet of the impact patent trolls—more politely called non-practicing entities or “NPEs”—are having on the economy.
Even if the numbers are inflated, there’s little doubt those costs are significant. The total spending of US businesses on research and development is $247 billion per year. So even if one only considers the direct costs of patent trolls, they may be sucking up more than 10 percent of the money that could be spent on R&D.
Bessen and Meurer are the authors of Patent Failure, a 2008 book criticizing the patent system that has become a bête noire in some quarters of the patent bar…
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