Dominic Basulto: just because you have a lot of highly cited patents doesn’t immediately mean that you can create valuable products from those patents
See the work of Edlyn Simmons and some previous IPBiz posts, for example
http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2010/08/citations-found-in-patents-do.html, with the text:
Edlyn S. Simmons and Nancy Lambert. "Patent Statistics: Comparing Grapes and Watermelons" In Recent Advances in Chemical Information, Proceedings of the 1991 Montreux International Chemical Information Conference & Exhibition, H. Collier, Ed, (Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge; CRC Press) pp 33-78 (1992).
Simmons, Edlyn S.; Lambert, Nancy. "Comparing grapes and watermelons." ChemTech 23 (6), 1993, p. 51-59. ]
Separately, the link by Basulto to Harvard is to a working paper by Tom Nicholas. Reference 9 of the working paper is to Jaffe/Lerner. Reference 28 is to Bessen/Meurer. Reference 45 is Lemley/Shapiro on the Wright Brothers. The discussion of the Wright Brothers patent from reference 44 is inane, especially because the patent had nothing to do with controlled sustained flight, and was filed months BEFORE December 1903. As to foreign patents, the Germans did not allow the Wright patent, the French did; both countries did well in early aviation. The U.S. was behind because the War Department could not envision the benefits of the Wright's work. Nothing to do with patents.
As to Basulto's text:
Instead of viewing patents as we once did — as a way to encourage inventiveness and innovation, we may be better suited to see them for what they have become: an economic drag and an attractive target for patent trolls, who see them as a way to exact tributes from deep-pocketed tech companies.
The political drumbeat against trolls is the "exacting of tributes" from smaller enterprises, not from deep pocket companies. The reality of the drumbeat may be that deep pocket companies don't want to be bothered by little guy inventors.
As to "victims", for example, note the post on 15 July 2015:
Small and independent hotel owners today are facing their ultimate nightmare: an infestation. But the risk to their livelihoods isn’t of the traditional critter-type variety, it’s a 21st century pest: the patent troll.
Basulto seems to be a futurist who doesn't know the past (or the present), and is doomed by the pronouncement of George Santayana.
link to Basulto article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2015/07/14/patents-are-a-terrible-way-to-measure-innovation/