Thursday, May 11, 2006

OnStartups Advice on Patents

OnStartups, a blog providing "Practical Advice for Software Startups", recently published an article detailing the value of barriers to entry, and explaining why there really are only three types of these for a software startups. I'll leave you to read the article if you care to know what these are, but conspicuously missing from the list were patents:
If you’re thinking: “What about patents?”, my response is “what about them?” Patents are a strange kind of barrier to entry that actually requires that people acknowledge their existence and you have the resources to enforce them. For most startups, neither of these are true. How many software startup founders have you met that do an exhaustive patent check before locking themselves in a room and writing code? Not many.
This seems to fall squarely into lines with what most people have said for a long time: patents are really only valuable in the hands of companies with relatively deep pockets. Individual inventors, scientific researchers, and founders of startups are disadvantaged by their presence.


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