Do patents matter?
There's an interesting post over on the Seeing Both Sides blog entitled "Patents Don't matter." My opinion is simply that it all depends, and the critical thing is your capacity to continuously innovate and to do so at a fairly rapid pace. What is true is that most people would rather not have to deal with the hassles of patent issues. In some domains they may be essential, but in others they probably are irrelevant, useless, and counter-productive.