Startups & the Patent System: A Narrative

20 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2012 Last revised: 2 Jan 2018

See all articles by Ted M. Sichelman

Ted M. Sichelman

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: March 26, 2012


In 2008, a team at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law conducted the most comprehensive study to date on startup companies and the patent system. The study consisted of a survey, which led to primarily quantitative data, as well as more in-depth pre- and post-survey interviews and case studies. Following upon articles broadly reporting the quantitative survey results, this chapter recounts the qualitative interviews and case studies in order to provide a richer overall account. Like the quantitative results, the qualitative results vary widely depending upon company industry, age, sophistication, and a variety of other factors. As such, this chapter reinforces the study’s original finding that there is no overriding characterization of how startups use and are affected by the patent system.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Startups, Patents, Innovation, Intellectual Property

JEL Classification: L26, O31, O32, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Sichelman, Ted M., Startups & the Patent System: A Narrative (March 26, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Ted M. Sichelman (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

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