Business Strategy: Use Law to Your Advantage

Can law give you a strategic advantage? And if so, what does that mean for the country? Surely the point of law was to level the playing field, not provide something for companies to exploit. It's something I haven't given a lot of thought to, but it seems important given that business and legal issues are increasingly intertwined in a world of knowledge work.

  • Rob…I see law and regulation as an element in an organization’s environment. The ones who embrace it and/or continually calculate its relevance stand a better chance of posturing themselves strategically. I think of’s patenting of the ‘1-click ordering’ system and legally shutting out from duplicating its process. To me, that ruling was a huge turning point for

  • Rob

    But I think that was a bad deal for consumers. I’ve always believed that patent law hasn’t kept up with the times, much like law in general. In normal situations, companies evalute reward vs. risk for business decisions. Patents are used to encourage risk taking for ventures where the risk and reward are both very high. Would Amazon pursue 1-click if it was not patentable? Sure they would. Would Merck committ billions of $$$ and years of research to drug development if it wasn’t patentable? No, they wouldn’t. If a project is low enough in risk that a company would pursue it, even if it wasn’t patentable, then in my opinion, it should not be eligible for patent protection.

  • Jason

    I think that the current RIM and NTP lawsuit puts the pRoblem into focus. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems bizarre that NTP, which doesn’t actually produce anything, can block the usage of the Blackberry. I mean, they’re just trolling for a settlement – they lose if Blackberry actually closes down. Vistio, another small company, is trying the same thing with Microsoft. Patent trolling does not strike me as adding economic value to anybody except the lawyers who run these cases. I’d also argue that patents, especially in software patents, are pRobably less valuable then most people think (unless you have the cash to sue the hell out of anyone you think violates your patent).

  • Rob

    Good point. And many times companies infringe upon patents accidentally, as they develop something already created somewhere else. But if you create something new as the normal course of your work, does it deserve to be patentable? There is very little risk in that, so why get the reward?