Apple and Google Spend More on Patents Than on Research and Development

Google’s new tablet PC, Nexus 7

Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images.

Another factoid for the patents-aren’t-innovation file:

Last year, for the first time, spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development of new products, according to public filings.

The whole piece from Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr is worth a read or a recommendation to a friend, but if you missed Zach Carter’s long-form Huffington Post piece on patents when it came out in summer 2011 that’s also a very important overview. This is an issue that’s only just now starting to get a teensy bit of visibility in political and general-interest circles, but the conversation clearly needs to move out of the twin niches of tech people and patent lawyers.