Patents seen as low priority for software firms

San Francisco Chronicle


Biotech, medical device and hardware startups almost always use patents to protect their prospects, but young software companies generally do not, according to the first quantitative study of how small firms use intellectual property protections.

"More than 80 percent of the biotech, medical device and hardware firms we surveyed have or have applied for patents," said study co-author Pamela Samuelson, a law professor at UC Berkeley. "About two-thirds of software firms have no patents and have not applied for any."

Study co-author Robert Merges, a UC Berkeley law professor, said the next step in the research would be to establish how patents and other intellectual property strategies affected business outcomes and job creation.