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June 4, 2009
Perpetual Patents: A Nasty Thought Occurs
A colleague of mine read the "Perpetual Patent" item below, and had a thought of his own. "If I were the head of a company that just discovered something like Lipitor", he said, using the example that the Xconomy piece used as well, "I'm probably going to fire all the early stage research people. Who needs 'em? We've got a never-ending patent on a huge drug".
And you know, I hate to say it, but I can't completely rule that one out myself. Not every management team would do this, but some would indeed transform the place from "Company That Looks For New Drugs" to "Company That Found One And Will Now Live Off It For As Long As Possible". After all, the R&D part of the operation is, most of the time, a huge drag on the bottom line. You only keep it around because you need it to come up with something that'll bring in the revenue eventually. So what happens if you decide that your current level of revenue is pretty good - and would look even better if you got rid of that big cost center?
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