The Global Patent Race Picks Up Speed

Up until the late 1980s, Digital Equipment Corp. gave short shrift to patents. DEC founder Kenneth H. Olsen believed that computer technology moved too rapidly for patents to offer much protection. What's more, he encouraged other companies to use DEC's technology to make add-on products that would raise demand for its computers. In 1985, DEC received just 20 U.S. patents--a tenth of the number garnered by Japanese rival Fujitsu Ltd.

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