Tech Media are More Likely to Editorialize About Patent Disputes and “Trolls” than Business & Consumer Publications

June 12, 2017 – A survey of 127 articles selected from a random sampling using the term patent infringement and published in business, technology and general news publications during 2016 reveal that almost half of the articles are either op-ed or trend pieces.

For the infographic of key findings, go here.

For the complete report, Patterns in Media Coverage of Patent Disputes, go here.

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New York, NY, June 12, 2017 – The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU), an independent non-profit organization devoted to increasing awareness of IP rights and their impact on peoples’ lives, announced today that the findings of a report it has prepared indicate the depiction of patent disputes in some media can be narrow and potentially misleading.

An analysis of 127 articles selected from a random sampling using the term patent infringement and published in business, technology and general news publications during 2016, Report: Patterns in Media Coverage of Patent Disputes, reveal that almost half of the articles are either op-ed or trend pieces. These articles are more focused on crafting a narrative rather than reporting on a specific patent case or development.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • 42% of media coverage are advocacy pieces written by authors promoting a political or business agenda
  • 57% of case coverage of patent infringement in technology publications provide a single POV, plaintiff or defendant
  • 42.5% of patent infringement coverage in the sample features either Apple or Samsung
  • IT lawsuit media coverage was eight times greater than pharmaceutical coverage

“The subjectivity in news coverage tends to correlate with specific story-lines, such as the ‘patent troll’ narrative,” said Steven Brachmann, a journalist who conducted the research for CIPU. “Patent infringement news coverage is more apt to report on highly recognizable companies and cases than it is on the amount of damages in verdicts or any actual technology.”

Tech publications provided twice as many mentions of the term “patent troll” as either business or general publications.

“The CIPU report shows there is a need to provide more context and greater transparency when reporting on patent disputes,” said Bruce Berman, Center for IP Understanding Chairman. “It also suggests that awareness is lacking even among informed audiences about the role of patents and other rights, and that the media play a major role in shaping perspective.”

For the complete report, Patterns in Media Coverage of Patent Disputes, go here.

For the infographic of key findings, go here.

About the Center for IP Understanding

The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of intellectual property rights and their impact on people’s lives. The Center tracks attitudes toward IP rights, provides research and provides an education framework to facilitate ideas, promote healthy competition and create jobs. CIPU is a tax-exempt IRS 501(c)(3) organization. For more information visit www.understandingip.org.

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