Do Startups Need Patents?
Most blogs and websites have short posts, enough for a soundbite, but not enough to sustain any depth of conversation. However there are a few exceptions. This week Jackie Hutter at IP Maximizer Asset Blog posted a good article entitled “Do Startups Need Patents? Rigorous Study Presents Real Data on Startup Company Patenting Behavior“. I am not going to summarize it because it would encourage you to go read her post in its entirety. It has some great soundbites, but also some in-depth discussion and commentary to help startups understand why patents should be filed.
What is most interesting is her comments are supported by a data driven study by author Stuart Graham, a Georgia Tech Business School professor who from 2010-2013 served as Chief Economist of the US Patent Office, entitled “High Technology Entrepreneurs and the Patent System of the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey” (published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal and available in this link). Graham’s article is quite long, but also worth a review.
As a service provider (consultant, lawyer, patent agent, mentors, startup advisers, etc.) I always find it somewhat egotistical for the profession to always be proclaiming “Everyone needs patents!” without giving a valid business reason why, and more pointedly without giving a business reason that is based on more than personal experience or a few selected tidbits of A little startup beats a huge multinational with a patent story we see summarized in the news. As such I find empirical data to backup logic is always beneficial.
This type of post and data it links to is the type of information business and IP advisers can use for their clients on the importance of IP in their business strategies. It is also beneficial for resource and cash strapped startups to see why it gives a good reason to prioritize IP as a fundamental piece of the strategy from the beginning and not have it as a ‘checkbox’ to say it was done.