This interesting article in the New York Times regarding a so-called "patent troll," raises the obvious question: If the patents are obviously no good and the claims of infringement clearly frivolous, how is it that supposedly top-notch lawyers must charge millions to show that to a judge?
I found this statistic from the article telling:
"One study found that United States companies — most of them small or medium-sized — spent $29 billion in 2011 on patent assertion cases. ‘And only about $6 billion of that money wound up in the hands of inventors,’ said James Bessen, a co-author of the study and a professor at the Boston University School of Law. ‘As for the other $23 billion, most of it goes to legal expenses…’"
Legal expenses, eh? Incurred by whom?
Assuming a more-or-less standard 33% contingency fee, this means the inventors get $6 billion, their lawyers another $3 billion, meaning about $20 billion goes to defendant’s counsel — you know, those upstanding lawyers who complain about trolls, frivolous suits, abuse of the system, and threats to our American Way of Life, and only reluctantly — reluctantly, I say– put that $20 billion in their pockets.