$29 Billion Spent Dealing With Patent Trolls In The US Alone Last Year
from the for-what-benefit dept
James Bessen and Michael Meurer, the pre-eminent researchers looking into the problems of the patent system have come out with a new study showing that, in the US alone, patent trolls had a direct cost for companies of about $29 billion. This does not include indirect costs, like the distractions of dealing with trolls or companies shutting down, products delayed or destroyed, etc. This is just about the direct costs, covering things like fighting in court and also settlement fights with the trolls. The study also found that small and medium businesses were the most impacted by this, often having to pay out to patent trolls (and to lawyers to deal with patent trolls).
Even more amazing is just how rapidly this cost has ballooned over the past few years. Check out this table from the report:
The report then goes further to try to figure out whether the trolls are actually benefiting innovation and getting more money to inventors, as the trolls and their supporters like to claim. Unfortunately, the research shows quite a different story — with very little of the money actually flowing back to either inventors or actual innovation. In other words, we’re talking about a pretty massive economic dead-weight loss here. Money flowing from actual innovators and creators… to lawyers, basically. Innovators grow the economy. Lawyers do not. This is a massive weight on the ability to grow the economy and to remain competitive. We’ve basically created a tax on innovation that flows to lawyers.