VC Cliché of the Week

We were in a meeting yesterday and were talking about patents.

We were debating the usefulness of patents as a business matter and I dropped my favorite line about patents on the group.

Patents are like nuclear bombs, you just got to have some.

I have never seen patents make a business, but I have seen lack of patents hurt a business on many occasions.

So this line, given to me by a patent lawyer about ten years ago now, strikes a chord in me.

IP battles are like the cold war.  Those who have patents can keep others honest because nobody wants to start a war that might end in everyone’s destruction.  But those who have no patents are sitting ducks and don’t have the weapons to keep others honest.

So my advice to entrepreneurs is always file a bunch of patents.  But don’t expect that they’ll ever do more than keep others at bay.