You Succeed By Executing Well, Not By Gathering Patents
from the rembrants-in-the-garbage dept
"Amazon's commercial fortunes would have been far better served had it patented technologies truly strategic to its business, such as the one-click ordering system that the company pioneered and that is used widely by on-line retailers today. That was a real business method choke point... that Amazon could have controlled to no small advantage. But as it is, without that proprietary advantage and with its brand strength eroding, companies like Virgin Records and PetSmart are unafraid to compete directly against the giant on-line retailer. Don't be surprised if Amazon's stock market fortunes head south when investors realize this fact."Of course, as most everyone probably already knows, and as Root highlights in the essay, Amazon actually was in the process of patenting the one-click feature. Yet, rather than helping the company, that one patent (to this day, actually!) has become a symbol of just how screwed up the patent system has become. It also created tremendous ill-will towards Amazon until the company was forced to back down from attempts to enforce it.
The key realization that comes from Root's essay (which also dips into military strategy) is that, in the big rush to focus on the value of "IP" and patents in particular, many companies out there forgot that patents are rather meaningless if you can't actually execute on a business strategy providing something that the market actually values at a price they can afford.