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Patent Medicine; Intellectual Property
Article from Bulletin/Magazine
The Economist (http://search.proquest.com/) vol. 400 no. 8747 (Aug. 2011)
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In recent years, the patent system has been stifling innovation rather than encouraging it. What has gone wrong? The prizing of patent quantity rather than quality is one cause for concern. A second is the rise in dubious patents. ON AUGUST 15th Google bid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, a troubled American maker of mobile phones. If the purchase goes through, it will be Google's largest ever acquisition, almost doubling the size of its workforce. The attraction for the internet giant is not the handset-maker's 19,000 employees nor its 11% share of America's smartphone market, but its portfolio of 17,000 patents, with another 7,500 in the pipeline. This will bolster Google's puny arsenal of around 2,000 patents, hugely strengthening its position in current and future legal battles with its more heavily armed industry rivals. Having been defeated in a recent auction of patents belonging to Nortel, a defunct Canadian telecoms firm, Google was clearly desperate to win Motorola's portfolio: its offer valued the company's shares at a 63% premium over their closing price the previous Friday evening.
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