Narain is the founder & CEO for 360 Degree Interactive, a web services firm based in Chennai, India. This blog is about his personal views on Web 2.0, RoR, Social networking,Digital media, interactive advertising, SaaS, Service Oriented Architecture, India Inc, rural education, Web standards, mobile 2.0 and more.

Thursday, April 13

Patents Vs. Products

Patents are to me, the life blood of American Economy. For every small thing, they do patenting it and indeed, sue large organisations for adhering to the patent. I am all for inventors, creators who works hard to file a patent. But, as Sramana Mitra's article rightly points out that it is not just the patent which matters, it is the execution & market availability of the patent to conceive a product/service really matters. In his article, Mitra looks at the counter argument by Bruce Sewell, Intel’s General Counsel, who argues about why RIM needs to win and why NTP should be paid less - Troll Call [Subscription Req]:

Some excerpts from Sewell’s piece:

RIM, the company that brings BlackBerry service to four million subscribers, finally caved in to the threat of losing its business. It paid NTP, a small patent holding company reputedly comprised of just one inventor and one patent lawyer, $615 million to settle a four-year patent dispute. For NTP it was like winning the lottery, but for the rest of us, and for business in particular, it stinks.

NTP doesn’t have a competitive product. It isn’t even in the business of making products. It’s one of a large number of companies known as patent trolls. Trolls acquire and use patents just to sue companies that actually make products and generate revenue. A patent without a product isn’t worth much, whereas a patent tied to a revenue stream, particularly someone else’s, is a whole different matter. RIM was the best thing that ever happened to NTP, because by last Friday the only question left was how much of RIM’s pie NTP could get.

The distressing part of this picture is that RIM’s contribution of complementary technologies, business acumen, product R&D and marketing is what “enabled” the NTP invention to achieve commercial relevance.

I am completely with Sramana Mitra on somebody who takes pain in evengelising, educating the market place to create commercial establishment out of the "patent" filed by somebody. As an innovator and marketing Web 2.0 products, I am all for market capitalization than just for filing one patent and dont do anything on that. Marketability is the key in creating, sustaining the leverage of any patent. At the end of the day, People really matters in terms of accepting the technology than the patent saints.


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