Subscribe NOW

Enter your email address:

Text Message our CEO:


or on twitter

Free Resources

Click Here to learn more

In The Media

IP Protection Does Not Work for Startups How You Would Think

by Larry Chiang on June 10, 2017

By Larry Chiang
Patents are funny because they do not work the way that you would think. If you’re a Stanford engineer, we get pitched by law firms selling the solution of “get a patent”
But the problem is that startups die wayyyyy before we get the benefit of holding a patent. Look at how innovative Duck9 has been with
– #ThinFileAnalysis
– #ThirdPartyDataVerification
– #EmailAddressUnderwriting
We file zero patents because 
– we. are. always. innovating. 
– We show banks how to copy what we did because ITS ALL ABOUT THE EXECUTION.
– protecting your idea makes you seem like a new-to-America newbie
– protecting your idea puts you in the category of asking a VC to sign an NDA
Intellectual Property in a street smart way goes like this:
“If you’re a startup, filing a provisional hardly ever gets you licensing revenue”. The theory goes, “get a patent and then it will automatically start raining cash. In reality, the attempt to file a patent is just a set of Jobs To Be Done, internal deliverables with people (lawyers) who do NOT work at your startup.”
I can recall exactly zero startups that made money licensing. 
Truth. When your startup goes BK, the patent asset gets picked up by a patent troll who splits the take 70-30. So, your rake will be 30% at best. Usually, the person who filed gets zero. 
Usually, the patent does NOT protect like it theoretically should. 
Usually, a decent engineer can take your patent filings and improve on them 25-30%, thus defeating the original innovation which is now out dated (the patent office is run by dinosaurs with one foot out the door and they move slower than molasses. 
You would think a large company could just steal an idea. But this just does not happen. People in large companies just do NOT execute
See my post on doing entrepreneurship inside engineering via external deliverables versus internal deliverables. 

Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
@kieranquinn27 Long way to go, but we’ve convinced most of the auto industry to start EV programs & gave them all our patents to help, so that’s something

Expect large companies to do zero with the patents. Me and Elon know that accountants drive big companies. Engineers, do. 


(650) 283-8008


The trademark office just approved the Patriots trademark of 17-0 in 2017. They went approximately 15-4

Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
As innovators, we don’t need IP protection. We are generating new Intellectual Property while we sleep and dream. Plus, it’s the execution!…
the execution!

the e-x-e-c-u-t-i-o-n!!!

Big companies are really good at shutting down stuff because there is a massive accounting benefit from writing off. See #cs183fanfe

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: