Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, tweeted this after $1B verdict against Samsung – “$1B damages. Must. Start. Patenting. Everything.” This tweet symbolizes what patent system means now.
In the high-tech business patents have become the most important asset for any company. Google-Motorola deal was primarily patent deal. After Google lost the Nortel patent portfolio to Microsoft and Apple, they desperately required huge patent portfolio to provide life support to Android. Google ended up paying $12.5 billion for Motorola. Given this, Aaron’s tweet is no surprise.
Startups and SMEs also have gained out of patents. CADTRAK was set up in 1980 to manufacture workstations. They had a patent for improving graphics processing. They were able to license out its patent to 400 companies, including IBM. Commodore Corp rejected licensing offer, was sued by CADTRAK and went bankrupt. Therefore, equation stands: 5 people, 2 computers, 1 patent = USD 50 million!!
Nowadays, it is much easier for startups and SMEs to license out their patents. There are specialised patent licensing companies like ICAP, that take care of full process at a nominal fee. So, it even makes more sense – Must. Start. Patenting. Everything.