[Fsfe-ie] Morning Ireland piece on Software Patents

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Thu May 6 14:42:10 CEST 2004

Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> I'm going to rebut this morning ireland thing in some way - but I'm missing
> (at least) one piece of info: why would a venture capitalist want software
> to be patentable?

My experience is that venture capitalists see software patents as an 
asset for startup companies, although most of them really don't 
understand the issues in any depth.

I have personally persuaded some pretty mainstream ventures capitalists 
that software patents are essentially useless for small companies for 
the following reasons:

(In the US) it takes 3 years to file them, by then most small companies 
have either failed or succeeded.

Large companies don't respect these patents as they will simple use 
their patent portfolios to force the smaller company into a 
cross-licensing deal.

They are expensive.

They preclude use of trade secret law to protect the invention.


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