Patents are either the scourge of technology, or its savior -- depending on who you talk to.
Intellectual Ventures, a company that has quite a bit invested in the business of patents, talked to more than 200 top executives earlier this year, and now says the majority of those individuals are keen on the idea of patents.
The controversial Bellevue, Wash.-based technology company -- which CNET profiled extensively last August -- released the findings of that study, which is its first, on Monday. It partnered with PR firm Waggener Edstrom and research firm Research Now to accumulate the data.
"There has been a lot of rhetoric going on," Adriane Brown, Intellectual Ventures' president and chief operating officer, said of patents in an interview with CNET. "But contrary to what some others might suggest, we actually believe that the issues being discussed in America's boardrooms in companies of all sizes and across industries is not whether patents matter, but how they matter."
To that extent, Brown says the company ordered up the research to not only validate its point, but also to find out the "true perceptions" of its potential customers.
The low down: 68 percent of the executives said they had a "positive overall perception of patents," and 70 percent said patents were "good for innovation." Also, 78 percent of executives who participated in the study said companies should be paying licensing fees if they're using technology that's been patented by others.
The study was blind, meaning Intellectual Ventures does not actually know who the companies were -- only the executive's titles, the state, and the what industry the company is in. The study included only U.S. companies, which were between 25 to 1,000 employees, something Brown says could be expanded to a broader group in a future research effort.
The report comes as Intellectual Ventures appears to be ramping up its litigation efforts. IV has filed legal complaints against AT&T, Canon, Ricoh, Symantec and Toshiba, in recent months, accusing all of patent infringement.
You can see a full version of the study results here.