The Economist writes in a survey:
In information technology and telecoms in particular, the role of intellectual property has changed radically. What used to be the preserve of corporate lawyers and engineers in R&D labs has been speedily embraced by the boardroom. Intellectual-asset management now figures as a strategic business issue. In America alone, technology licensing revenue accounts for an estimated $45 billion annually; worldwide, the figure is around $100 billion and growing fast.
Technology firms are seeking more patents, expanding their scope, licensing more, litigating more and overhauling their business models around intellectual property. Yet paradoxically, as some companies batten down the hatches, other firms have found ways of making money by opening up their treasure-chest of innovation and sharing it with others. The rise of open-source software is just one example. And a new breed of companies has appeared on the periphery of today’s tech firms, acting as intellectual-property intermediaries and creating a market for ideas.