Nobody likes a patent troll. These are companies that try and patent anything that seems patentable whether they plan to use the technology are not, simply with the hope of charging other companies. Patent lawsuits in the technology world are a dime a dozen and are constantly coming and going. If you've ever wondered exactly how much patent trolls cost companies and other firms within the United States, a new study has been published that puts a dollar amount on costs.
The study was authored by James Bessen and Michael Meurer from the Boston University School of Law. The authors found that patent trolls cost US firms about $29 billion last year. The $29 billion figure only counts for direct costs, including legal bills and licensing fees. The authors note that the figure does not take into account indirect cost to defendants such as the diversion of resources, delays for new products, and the loss of market share.
According to the study authors, actions by patent trolls last year saw 2150 companies having to mount 5842 defenses lawsuits. The study research also suggests that half of the patent defenses mounted last year came from companies earning less than $100 million a year making those companies much smaller than many of the names that pop to mind when we think of patent suits such as Apple, Samsung, and others.