“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.”