Patent Law

Patent Profits Elusive

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Patents may pave a path to litigation rather than profits, especially in the information technology industry, according to a study by two researchers.

They found that patent litigation in the United States cost $16 billion in 1999, while companies reaped only $9.3 billion in patent profits, the New York Times reports.

The researchers, law professors James Bessen and Michael Meurer of Boston University, are writing about the study in a book to be released next year called Do Patents Work?

They conclude that patents are valuable in some areas, such as pharmaceuticals, but that’s not the norm, especially for tech companies. “Our finding is that the risk of patent litigation is creating a disincentive for [research and development],” Bessen told the newspaper.

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