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Patent Factoids

Some factoids about patents:

  • Typical cost to obtain a U.S. patent: $5,000 to $25,000. 
  • Cost to invalidate a patent: Legal fees average $4.5 million in patent disputes where more than $25 million is at risk.
  • Cost of obtaining a patent versus invalidating one: You do the math.
  • Number of inventions under active patent in the U.S.: 1.6 million
  • Number of patents owned by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), the 14 year recordholder of the largest number of patents awarded to a single company: 3,651.
  • Percentage of software patents to total patents awarded in the early 1980’s: 2%
  • Percentage of software patents to total patents awarded today: 15%

(I am not a registered patent attorney, and do not prosecute or litigate patents.  I’ve worked on many patent licenses and agreements over the years, though.)

(Source: "Businesses Battle Over Patent Laws," The Wall Street Journal, June 9-10, 2007.)