This summer’s must-have: Technology patents?

Talk of patents (and of patent reform) has been the hot tech topic this summer, with every outlet from “This American Life” from WBEZ (“When Patents Attack!”) to the Economist weighing in on the patent “arms race.”

Just last week, Google announced it is buying Motorola Mobility (and, by extension, Motorola’s library of an estimated 25,000 patents) for a neat $12.5 billion. Intellectual property scholars James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer, co-authors of Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, have been all over the news arguing that such deals don’t bode well for future innovation.

Bessen, Meurer, and their path-breaking 2008 title have been mentioned in Corporate Consul magazine, Techdirt, and the San Francisco Chronicle, just to name a few. In an article by Peter Svensson syndicated in the Washington Times, James Bessen sums up the problem, saying, “Patents have become legal weapons–they’re not representing ideas anymore.” Bessen is likewise quoted in a recent article at the Huffington Post, and his comments were picked up in a piece by Rhodri Marsden in the Independent.

If you want to be the most tech-savvy person at your Labor Day BBQ, you can read the first chapter of Patent Failure here.