"Patent thickets": not new, not even a problem

The Smartphone Patent Thicket (Just Lawsuits)
"Patent thickets: a paper for the European Patent Office Economic and Scientific Advisory Board meeting" is the title of a typically trenchant piece by Professor Sir Robin Jacob and which is now available online on the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice's Advance Access service. Online subscribers may access it as part of their subscription; everyone else can buy limited online access to it -- or await publication of the printed version of the issue in which it is published. According to the abstract
"In recent years economists particularly have become exercised by what they perceive as a problem with the current patent system, a problem characterized by the expression ‘patent thickets’. 
This article seeks to put the so-called problem into its real context of patents and patent applications. 
It suggests that the ‘problem’ is not new and forms part of the general costs of patent compliance; that there is a real distinction to be made between ‘thickets’ of valid patents and invalid patents; and that insofar as there is a problem, adjustment of other parts of the system such as the levels of fees is the way forward".

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