John Markoff reports in the New York Times on the thriving industry in expert witnesses, who are paid as much as $1,000 an hour to testify in high-stakes intellectual property lawsuits. In recent years, Markoff writes, the handful of large expert-witness firms have made “handshake” agreements to act in partnership with companies that are accumulating portfolios of patents with the intent of collecting revenue from them. One expert likens the agreements to the informal networks set up by insurance companies that require expert testimony in lawsuits. The Times reports that pending patent legislation now under discussion by Congress could move much patent litigation into an arbitration system, where the process is more compressed and the role of expert witnesses is thereby reduced. Read more.