Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Patents suck

Patents are going to lead to the stagnation of American civilization. We will soon become overrun by innovation from foreign lands, rather than tinkerers from our own garages. Weak.

Check this out: Vonage is a VOIP company. They roll out unlimited long distance for 25 bucks a month. Most people love it. Sounds nice - just another business leveraging new technology
to make a buck, right?

Wrong, fool
. You see, Sprint came up with similar technology years before Vonage rolled out its product. And they patented it and did *nothing* with it. Why would Sprint try to compete with themselves? So now, because Vonage saw a market where others did not, they owe Sprint $70 million. Plus 5 percent (or more) of future *revenues* (not profits) in a low-margin business. Share price is currently less than $1/share, whereas the IPO less than 2 years ago fetched $17/share, as the technology and business plan looked quite promising.

So if you've got a great business idea, don't bother. Someone else already thought of it and is just waiting for you to act on it.

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