No such thing as a “just defensive” patent

EMC is on a big push for employees to generate more software patents. I’ve always said that software patents are bad. Always.

[Insert rant about how large companies innovate primarily through acquisition and if startups are afraid of innovating due fear of patent infringement they won’t start-up and thus large companies won’t innovate.]

EMC currently touts the same party line as IBM during my 10 years there: “we only use patents defensively”. But things aren’t looking that great at IBM these days after a disastrous 4th quarter and laying off thousands of people. So what is a large corporation to do given their fiscal responsibility to their shareholders? You start using your patents offensively, like suing Priceline for royalties on billions of dollars for things you patented back in the 90s.

So the next time your company tries to tell you “yes, patents are bad but we only use them defensively” you can call bullshit and point them to IBM.