Just listened to the latest This American Life episode, titled When Patents Attack. The patent wars were funny to me, and I pictured big companies messing with each other on ridiculous claims, like Microsoft making 5 dollars from every HTC phone. Sadly, the implications are far worse:

Think of that — 4.5 billion dollars on patents that these companies almost certainly don’t want for their technical secrets. That 4.5 billion dollars won’t build anything new, won’t bring new products to the shelves, won’t open up new factories that can hire people who need jobs. That’s 4.5 billion dollars that adds to the price of every product these companies sell you — 4.5 billion dollars essentially wasted, buying arms for an ongoing patent war. The big companies, Google, Apple, Microsoft, will probably survive this war. The likely casualties, the companies out there now that no one’s ever heard of that could one day take their place.

Listen for yourself