"Patent Trolls" Are Killing The Tech Industry

Research conducted by The US Government Accountability Office shows that the infamous trend of "Patent Wars" in the technology industry are holding back innovation from the market, with a rising number of "Patent Trolls" making some easy money out of companies through the courts or via settlement.

The study covers five years from 2007-2011, and has identified that the number of patent troll lawsuits have grown significantly in this period.  Infact, four out of five of the top litigants in America exist solely for the job of filing patent claims, taking settlements from companies before cases even reach the courts.  As the patent lawsuits are extremely expensive, disruptive, and a great risk to the defendant, the troll's royalty demands (which are intentionally priced to undercut the costs of going through the courts) seem like a no brainer for the company, even if they think they may have a good case.

These "patent monetization entities" have contributed towards making half of all disputes related to the technology industry, with one in six covering smartphones.  True, there needs to be a way of creating accountability and legal ownership of key innovations; but in a way that doesn't deter innovation and stops any big company or start-up before any forward thinking is placed upon the industry.

Source: Congressional Research Service (PDF)

Jason England