Patent trolls cost American companies $29 billion last year, says Boston University. Trolls impose ‘a significant tax on investment in innovation,’ says the university.
Trolls, companies which develop technology but don’t use it to make products, claim that they are advancing technological progress.
Boston University disagrees, saying that trolls actually take more out of the US economy than they put in.
2,150 US companies had to defend 5,842 patent lawsuits last year, says the university.
Moreover, the $29 billion figure does not take into account the cost of the diversion of companies’ resources to deal with trolls, the consequent delay in product introductions and the resulting loss of market share.
The $29 billion does take into account the cost of lawyers’ fees, licensing fees and royalties. Lawyers’ fees represent a quarter of the cost of the litigation, says the university.