The Embedded Systems Conference is taking place today and tomorrow at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, California. Today's IP Symposium included Peter Detkin, founder and Vice-Chairman of Intellectual Ventures, as a keynote speaker. EDA DesignLine reported on the symposium and attributed the following to Detkin (link):
He [Detkin] said that the mission of the patent system is to encourage and reward inventions and disclosures. Small inventors, defined as those entities that have less than 500 employees are responsible for 60% of US patents while the remaining 40% are granted to large companies. On the other hand, large companies collect over 90% of revenues derived from patents, while small companies are left with the "crumbs". He also pointed out that the average time required to go through the patent application process is now close to four years, and that, on the average, it takes just as long for a small inventor to negotiate licensing rights with a large company.I haven't encountered any statistical breakdowns of licensing revenue along these lines, and I'd be interested to find out where Detkin obtained these numbers. If the statistics are accurate, this could easily serve as fodder for any upcoming patent reform debates.