May 23 2008

Success Pending

Josh Kopleman at First Round Capital has an excellent post up titled Depending on pending…  I’m going  out to lunch at the Rio today and having a margarita to celebrate the issuance of the original Half.com patent (#7,373,317) that was just issued.  8.5 years after Josh filed for it.  And 7 years after eBay acquired Half.com.

To my great joy, Josh states "I believe there is little-to-no value in depending on pending patents for a "barrier" to entry. "   He then adds a line that I love in the never ending "patents are like nuclear bombs" debate: "But if you’re fighting a war today, it’s better to count on weapons you have at hand today — don’t rely on a nuclear program that could take five years to come to fruition."

As an early stage company, saying that your patents pending are a defensible barrier is equivalent to saying that your success is pending.  Yeah – maybe.  But don’t count on it.  However, I can guarantee that the margarita I’m having at lunch in the sunshine is going to be very tasty.