I’ve blogged a lot lately about all the various patent battles in the smartphone and other spaces, leading to wasted money on litigation, patent acquisition, licensing, and so on–billions and billions of dollars. We have Google spending $12.5 billion on Motorola Mobility in part to obtain 17,000+ patents, to defend itself from patent threats by competitors like Apple and Microsoft. Patents are being “weaponized,” forcing even non-aggressive companies like Google to acquire patent shields.
This is good for Google–though a waste of its precious capital; think how many jobs and innovative research could those billions could have gone towards–but not everyone has the money or clout to acquire such patent arsenals for defensive purposes. Thus, the larger corporations are protected from competition from smaller players, leading to barriers to entry and oligopolies.Perhaps one way to help jump-start the economy is to eliminate patent protection so businesses can hire people instead of toss money at the lawyers who write these regulations. It's hard to imagine that the nation would not be better off paying people to make something instead of paying people to shuffle papers.