Patent Litigation at an All-time High

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The latest issue of the New York Times carries an article which discusses the inherent value of patents. Other than touching on an age old debate, the article also draws attention to the rising trend of patent litigation –

Domestic litigation costs alone, meanwhile, soared to $16 billion in 1999 from $8 billion in 1997.

Things have probably become worse since then. For instance, patent litigation is up: there were 2,318 patent-related suits in 1999, and 2,830 in fiscal 2006 (though that’s down from the peak year, 2004, when 3,075 were filed). Mr. Bessen (a lecturer at Boston University’s law school and co-author of an upcoming book on the topic, “Do Patents Work?”) said awards in patent cases also seemed to be up, though he was less confident in that data.

Mr. Bessen, thinks that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.  What’s your take on the matter?

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