Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda's first column in his new job at the Washington Post (I'm still trying to make sense of this myself) is a good one. He looks at the Yahoo patent lawsuit
against Facebook, and posits that getting sued on your way to an IPO is like a Silicon Valley fraternity hazing ritual
. He doesn't go quite this far, but there certainly are some similarities. It's an insanely pointless process with significant costs, often disgusting to those going through it... but which they eventually grudgingly admit is worth going through to get to the end goal of being "in the club." I'm not sure it's totally true of just IPO-bound tech companies. I think it's just the nature of just about any semi-successful tech company these days. You get sued for patent infringement. It's just what happens. And it's there where the analogy falls down a bit. You can avoid fraternity hazing by not pledging a fraternity. You have no such choice when it comes to getting sued for patent infringement.