The monetary and strategic value of intellectual property has consistently grown as markets around the world tilt toward an economy that is majority knowledge-based. While this realization is not lost on today's companies, some suggest that the fear of protracted litigation is keeping them from exploring more aggressive patent management strategies.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce highlighted the value of IP-intensive industries in several significant ways. Aside from the approximately 40 million jobs generated in these settings, their combined output surpassed the total gross domestic product (GDP) of every nation in the world save China.
According to Metropolitan Corporate Counsel contributors Glenn Sacks and Steven Henning, the commercial impact of the patents in power have been limited by conservative acquisition and licensing strategies inspired by fear of infringement litigation - whether frivolous or legitimate.
"In particular, we have found that IP inventors and owners are predisposed to employ their IP in just their core business rather than finding uses in alternative markets," Sacks and Henning wrote. "That is because the IP owners are unfamiliar with the alternative applications and markets and fear the costs associated with the possibility of having to defend their IP for a use that has uncertain prospects."
While it is still ultimately up to patent holders to determine their unique portfolio gaps and risks, the two columnists insist that legislation may be the long term answer. While the America Invents Act brought a number of business-friendly provisions, litigation rates have only continued their ascent since its passage.