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Patent Litigation: A Negative Effect on Innovation?

With an increasing number of recent high-profile patent litigation wars, one of which involves Apple’s US$1.05 billion judgment against Samsung, there is a debate on whether patent litigation has a negative effect on innovation. 

While vendors have a right to protect their legitimate intellectual property rights, patent litigation appears to have become a tool for larger vendors to deter emerging competitors from creating inventions for fear that these inventions may infringe a patent.  In some cases, larger vendors use patent litigation and the uncertainty surrounding its outcome to deter customers from purchasing their rival’s products.  These patent wars have also resulted in the creation of patent trolls, which are businesses that are formed solely for the purpose of acquiring intellectual property patent rights, and using these patent rights to sue other companies alleging patent infringement. 

While the protection of intellectual property rights is a legitimate goal, a balance must be struck between enforcing these rights, and promoting innovation.

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