Archive for November, 2011

Study calculates economic harm from patent trolls

Friday, November 18th, 2011

By studying the movements of the stock market, three researchers from Boston University School of Law have found that over the past twenty years patent trolls have cost publicly listed US product developers 500 billion US$, and the rate is rising year by year. They’ve also shown that very little of this is transfered to the small inventors which trolls sometimes use to justify their existence. That last part won’t surprise readers of this website, but it’s important to have a credible document to prove these things.

[Because trolls are just one of many problems caused by software patents, and aren't the biggest problem either, this figure represents only a fraction of the total harm caused by software patents]

Read on for some excerpts, or read the full paper: The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls (source).

Two of the researchers, Bessen and Meurer are already known for their individual writings on software patents, plus and their book Patent Failure. They’re joined in this paper by Jennifer Ford.

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ESP Australia presentation recording

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Ben Sturmfels of ESP Australia recently gave a talk outlining the problems caused by software patents. A recording is online at:

Ben will be giving another presentation on January 19th with more of a focus on the current campaign in Australia:
2:20pm, Thursday January 19th at the University of Ballarat.

Ben’s talk is a good example for anyone tasked with giving such a presentation. There’s also a wiki page where you can get some ideas or add your own tips: