Ask corporate counsel for the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word “patents,” and the response likely will be “litigation” rather than “invention.”

Think about what that means.

Thanks to the abuses of patent trolls in recent years, many in-house counsel no longer view patents as rich repositories of new technical knowledge that can be used to improve their companies’ products and services. Instead, they see patents as ticking time bombs of infringement risk. Or, as a New York Times headline put it not long ago, corporate executives today increasingly confront “The Patent, Used as a Sword.”
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