Posted Oct 10, 2012 7:12 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: Patently stupid
Parent article: The Patent, Used as a Sword (New York Times)
Sorry, but no. As someone who've seen the process from the inside (I never sold a startup but I participated as an expert in talks) I can attest that investors rarely conduct a patent search. It's just way, way, WAY too expensive.
They know there are lots of patents out there and they consider the hypothetical possibility of these landmines, but they have no way to get an accurate measures. And if you have patents of your own for the technology you've developed then the risk is largely mitigated: if your technology is covered by both your patent and someone's else patent then it's very hard to prove that you have no right to use this technology even if that other patent was granted earlier.
Patents may be a drag for the economy as whole but they sure are a win for each particular participant. Tragedy of commons and all that. And startups who are trying to do things for the common good first and for their own good second don't usually reach the sale stage at all.
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