In short, companies exist to make money, and patents are a tool in the toolkit of revenue generation. Usually, sales of patented products are used to recoup the costs of the R&D that went into developing that product, and/or to fund a new round of R&D for the next innovative product.
A company’s patent portfolio might additionally be looked at as a source of “free” revenue for the company. Most companies have patented technologies which they are not themselves exploiting; those patents and the underlying technologies may be attractive to another company which could make and sell (and therefore generate revenue) products using those technologies.
Originally published by Catherine Kennedy at patentlaw.nd.edu on April 14, 2015.