Technology

Study finds patent licensing rarely results in innovation

Licenses sought by universities found to be little better than those obtained by 'patent trolls'

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It may come as little surprise to players in online real estate who have been cajoled into such deals, but patent licensing rarely results in new products, technology transfer or other markers of innovation. That's according to an academic study that provides some ammunition for critics of "patent trolls," who say patent licensing serves as little more than a mechanism for "nonpracticing entities" -- companies that don't actually provide goods or services -- to collect money from companies that do, in exchange for promising not to sue them. What may come as a surprise is that the study found patent licensing doesn't seem to do much to fuel innovation, regardless of whether it's "patent trolls" or other patent holders like universities seeking the licenses. In a report detailing their findings, “Does Patent Licensing Mean Innovation?” law professors Robin Feldman (University of California Hastings College of the Law) and Mark Lemley (Stanford Law School) say their results "...