I had just published my article on the application of patent laws when a very trustworthy friend of mine told me the following story. It dates back few years already:
In the US of A, an enterprise X consisted of scientists and lawyers. The scientists were supposed to come up with new processes and technology, and the lawyers were then supposed to see them patented. Isn’t that an interesting business model?
Most of the output the enterprise produced was not worth very much. But then the most unlikely thing happened. In the sector “light”, they developed something really innovative.
On hearing this, an enterprise O wanted to buy enterprise X. The investors of X offered it to O for 30 million USD. O took quite some time to make up their minds and finally decided they did want to spend that kind of money. After all, how likely was it that the patent would be granted to the new invention by X?
Then the patent for the invention was granted. A competitor of O, the company P, bought X. They paid 500 million USD for X. And O was pretty angry.
I am not sure if the numbers are correct. And, of course, similarities with living or dead people and enterprises are totally coincidental. But you must admit that it might have happened like this?
If I remember my lectures correctly (see also my article on patents), everything would look totally different today. O and P would both use the invention, and X would have to see where and how he can get their right acknowledged.