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Patent counsel and value delivered

“Approximately 80 percent of patents granted represent improvements to products already in existence as opposed to inventions of wholly new products” (Economic Approaches to Intellectual Property: Policy, Litigation, and Management (NERA Econ. Consulting 2005, at 8). Later, “many patented inventions have relatively low values, while a few patented inventions have extremely high values” (id. at 14).

If the facts are these, one wonders about the value of sustaining in-house patent lawyers. They do other tasks, such as M&A counseling, license agreements, but maybe the answer is like the old saw about advertising, “I know half my spending on ads is wasted, but I don’t know which half.”