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February 10, 2005

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

Fred Wilson writes at his blog:

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.

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.