A Sad Statement: The Best Way To Deal With Patent Threats Is To Be Less Open
from the bad-for-innovation dept
10. Advice For All Times: Don’t Be An Easy TargetThis isn't a surprise. Of course, we've highlighted how companies often get hit up by patent trolls right after they make news. But what this is really saying is "don't be open." And while that may be a good strategy for a company seeking to avoid patent lawsuits, it's a horrible strategy for increasing innovation. Research into innovation and economic growth have shown time and time again that what helps create that kind of innovation is more openness and more sharing. It's the information sharing that made Silicon Valley into Silicon Valley.
Trolls pick their targets by studying websites, looking at product specs, and trying to make out a case that you need their patent. Don’t make it easy for them. Require registration before granting access to whitepapers, detailed documents, or video tutorials that delve into the behind-the-scenes details. Think twice about being on customer lists or advertising the ins and outs of your business, the products you use, etc., unless there’s a good business reason for doing so. Often it is the companies that advertise most successfully that are the most frequent targets of troll demands — troll threats should not drive business decisions, but don’t be surprised when your successful marketing campaign is followed by an onslaught of troll letters.
What's stunning -- and depressing -- is that the patent system is supposed to be the thing that encourages innovation. And yet, because it's become totally dysfunctional, one of the recommendations for how to avoid running afoul of it now... is to do the exact thing that holds back and limits innovation. What a shame.