Oct. 17, 2007 SDF Patents

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On October 17, 2007 at SDForum in San Jose held a workshop on patents presented by Andre Marais from Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner and David Smith from Tynax.

Selling patents is literally a marketplace of ideas. Most start-ups fail but can sell intellectual property or auction off an unrealized asset. Even successful companies may have patent ideas they do not develop but may want to license to someone else.

A growing number of law firms are stepping into the patent business. There is an entire ecosystem of patent aggregators, brokers, defenders and enforcers. They all maneuver to control the direction of companies, products and markets. Globalization now spreads these battles around the world.

I don’t know how to feel about this. It is important that people who come up with a great idea benefit and patents are a good incentive. I’ve studied the history of innovation and know many inventors who spent years fighting for patents rather than inventing new products. If they had successful legal help it might have meant more time in the lab. Of course, there is a chance that patent predators might so entangle the process that it shuts down innovation.

It then occurred to me that some bright inventor might come up with a way around it. Every wall cries out for a gate.

Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved. Really.