Just a few years ago, companies guarded their patents jealously. They weaponized intellectual property and chased through the courts those who “stole” their ideas. Times have changed. Today companies have eased off the fury and started collaborating for their mutual benefit. Boston Consulting Group experts Wendi Backler, Tatu Heikkilä and Derek Kennedy dive into how and why leading patent holders are working with companies that own less intellectual property. getAbstract recommends this insightful report to technological innovators or anyone interested in contemporary business practice.


Companies have long weaponized intellectual property (IP) to exclude competition or generate revenue, but they’re now approaching IP more collaboratively. As patents get harder to keep and enforce, more companies are “trading the high cost of acquiring and maintaining their own IP portfolio for less costly, nonexclusive access to patents.”

Nonpracticing entities bring more than half of all patent litigation in the United States, but they’re winning fewer cases and some have stopped buying patents altogether. IP is...

About the Authors

Wendi Backler, Tatu Heikkilä and Derek Kennedy are senior leaders at the Boston Consulting Group, who specialize in technology and innovation. 

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