A better use for 4.5 billion dollars

I am shocked by the recent winning bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio.  4.5 billion U. S. dollars.  In cash! More than shocked, I am saddened to see such a large sum squandered like this.  These patents won’t spur on innovation.  They won’t make their new owners into better companies.  At best, they’ll serve as (unreliable) insurance against the artificial, legally-facilitated disasters known as patent-infringement lawsuits.  At worst, these patents will act as a weapon of mass destruction, one that can inflict the same kind of fear and damage it’s supposed to guard against.  They’re a weapon to be aimed at competitors… and ultimately at society itself.  (Likely cost to society: more monopolies, narrower concentration of...