-Patently-O Blog, Parts I-III July 19-21, 2010 by Robert Merges, Pamela 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.
Our fourth major result is that our respondents—particularly software companies—find the high costs of patenting and enforcing their patents deter them from filing for patents on their innovations. Given the reported importance of patents to startups not only in the financing process, but also for strategic reasons—especially for increasing bargaining power—these cost barriers are worrisome.
The data, however, present an interesting paradox: If executives believe that patents provide relatively weak incentives to innovate, why are so many startup firms seeking them? Our first post indicated that securing financing was a reason why many firms reported seeking patents…. Raising money, rather than invention itself, may be the key.
-O’Reilly Radar, July 21, 2010 by Pamela Samuelson
The initial findings reported here and in the larger article suggest that software entrepreneurs do not find persuasive the canonical story that patents provide strong incentives to invest in technology innovation.
-Technology Review, Feld Thoughts Blog, July 28, 2010 by Brad Feld
The juiciest conclusion is about halfway through the essay and is “One of the most striking findings of our study is that software firms ranked patents dead last among seven strategies for attaining competitive advantage identified by the survey.” Another one was “We were surprised to discover that the software respondents reported that patents provide only weak incentives for engaging in core activities, such as invention of new products (.96) and commercialization (.93).”