Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Innovation-Killing Patents

Alongside the impressive technological advances of the last two decades ... a pall has descended: the marketplace for new ideas has been corrupted by software patents used as destructive weapons.

In the smartphone industry alone, according to a Stanford University analysis, as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions. Last year, for the first time, spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development of new products, according to public filings.

From this NYTimes story by Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr who start with the story of a small speech recognition software firm that was driven out of business by a lawsuit by a bigger rival with patents.