Wednesday, August 24, 2005

MYHRVOLD SAYS CLAIMS OF PATENT "PROBLEMS" ARE BUNK: Former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold (who now heads start-up Intellectual Ventures that develops and licenses patents), told the Progress & Freedom Foundation's annual conference recently that "before you get worked up about this gigantic problem, you ought to see what the facts are."

According to Myhrvold, patent litigation represents only 3 percent of federal lawsuits and there has been a steady decline in the number of lawsuits filed per patent. "Almost everything you have heard about patent litigation statistics is not true," he said. "Patents are the least litigious part of intellectual property law."

Myhrvold also took on the concept of patent trolls (companies that exist only to accumulate patents and extract licensing fees). Myhrvold properly pointed out that there isn't any hard data to support the view that holding companies are as big a problem as claimed. "This is a great example of people having a bunch of anecdotes...I don't see that it's wrong to invent without making products."

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