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2008 Berkeley Patent Survey

The 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey showed that venture capitalists are not interested in software patents and that SMEs over estimate the importance of having patents. The paper was published in the USA by Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson, Ted Sichelman, and Stuart Graham.

Major findings

In a three-part series, authors Merges, Samuelson, and Sichelman highlighted key findings.

The study found that while 97% of venture-backed startups in biotech have patents, only 67% of venture-backed software startups do, and among all software startups (regardless of their source of financial backing) the number drops to 25%.[1] This information was used in EFF's Bilski v. Kappos brief.[2]

From an article written by two of the authors:

Among software companies, the results are even more striking, with them reporting that patents provide less than a "slight" incentive.[3]

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links

Explanatory articles by the authors

Three of the authors (Merges, Samuelson, and Sichelman) published a three-part summary in July 2010:

The same three authors published a further article one year later:

Further papers discussing this paper


  1. "Patenting by Entrepreneurs: The Berkeley Patent Survey (Part I of III)". "As expected, this figure varies widely by industry—for example, 97% of venture-backed biotechnology companies hold patents or applications, while only 67% of venture-backed software startups do. And among the general population of software startups responding, the rate was only about 25%."