-Patently-O, July 19, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
The 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey has found that startups are patenting more than previous studies have suggested; that patents are being sought for a variety of reasons, the most prominent of which is to prevent copying of the innovation; and that there are considerable differences among startups in the perceived significance of patents for attaining competitive advantage, with biotech companies rating them as the most important strategy and software companies rating them least important.
-Patently-O, July 20, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
Biotechnology companies report that patents provide closer to a “moderate” than a “strong” incentive to engage in the innovation process. Among software companies, the results are even more striking, with them reporting that patents provide less than a “slight” incentive. These findings raise questions about the importance of patents to innovation for entrepreneurs and startups. Indeed, the results have spurred some vigorous debate in the blogosphere.
-Patently-O, July 21, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
One possible interpretation is that startup executives are generally unaware of the link between patents and success in the innovative process, which results in financial markets selecting those companies that patent more heavily. Another interpretation is that patents serve important functions not related to the innovation process, such as helping to prevent infringement lawsuits, providing leverage in cross-licensing negotiations, and acting as “signals” of firm competency, which drive investment.