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Preston Gralla: Patents don't equal innovation

Preston Gralla | Feb. 11, 2014
Today, lawyers at times have as much influence as engineers, if not more, and patents are used to fend off competitors and to force them to pay licensing fees that can run to billions of dollars annually.

Microsoft isn't alone. Apple has used patents in a similar manner, notably in its suit against Samsung. And the people who believed that Google purchased Motorola in 2011, not for its manufacturing prowess but for its sizable patent war chest, have been vindicated by the news that Google is selling Motorola but keeping its patents.

That doesn't mean that companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google should cut back on research and stop pursuing patents. It's good that U.S. companies are on the list of the biggest patent holders. But it would be better if those patents were put to their best use, developing innovative products, rather than being deployed as a means of bludgeoning competitors.


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