Josh Kopleman at First Round Capital has an excellent post up titled Depending on pending… I’m going out to lunch at the Rio today and having a margarita to celebrate the issuance of the original Half.com patent (#7,373,317) that was just issued. 8.5 years after Josh filed for it. And 7 years after eBay acquired Half.com.
To my great joy, Josh states "I believe there is little-to-no value in depending on pending patents for a "barrier" to entry. " He then adds a line that I love in the never ending "patents are like nuclear bombs" debate: "But if you’re fighting a war today, it’s better to count on weapons you have at hand today — don’t rely on a nuclear program that could take five years to come to fruition."
As an early stage company, saying that your patents pending are a defensible barrier is equivalent to saying that your success is pending. Yeah – maybe. But don’t count on it. However, I can guarantee that the margarita I’m having at lunch in the sunshine is going to be very tasty.