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Posts Tagged: "Elon Musk"

Billionaire Space Race Between Bezos and Branson (and Musk) Pushes Forward Next Generation of Spaceflight Innovation

This July has been a landmark month for the commercial space sector thanks in large part to the determination of two tech billionaires: Richard Branson, business magnate and founder of the Virgin Group; and Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of e-commerce titan Amazon.com. Both of these icons of business entrepreneurship reached the outer limits of Earth’s gravity to slip into space for a brief moment in recent weeks—Branson in the VSS Unity, owned by his Virgin Galactic spaceflight company, and Bezos in the New Shepard craft developed by his Blue Origin firm. The successful spaceflights for both Branson and Bezos are breathing life into the nascent space tourism industry, as many others with the wealth to pay for a seat to outer space are lining up for the opportunity.

Don’t Be Fooled by His Patent Purge: Elon Musk is Just Another Hypocritical Tech Billionaire

In 2014, Elon Musk made Tesla’s patents available for anyone to use for free, stating that “technology leadership is not defined by patents.” Earlier this month, Musk announced again that he had released all of Tesla’s patents, promising the company “will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” Musk believes patents only serve “to stifle progress” and that by releasing his patents he can help get progress moving again—and that progress will somehow win the fight against climate change. But do patents stifle progress, and will releasing patents really have this result? Patents are a trade with a government. The inventor agrees to disclose the invention to the public in exchange for a limited exclusive right to the invention. No one else can make, use, sell or import the invention without the inventor’s permission. The public interest is served because the invention is publicly disclosed, so anyone can improve the invention and patent that advancement. And anyone can design around it and patent that invention. If the invention has commercial value, no doubt many people will jump in and do one or both.

Is Elon Musk a Modern Day Rasputin?

Musk also continues to be exposed by news headlines. Twice Musk has delayed his own deadline to reach the 5,000-per-week production goal he has set for Tesla’s Model 3. He’s broken promises not only to his shareholders but also his workforce, 9 percent of which he recently laid off in an attempt to make Tesla into a profitable company. At the time of this writing, Tesla shares were in the $310 price range despite predictions from major investment bank Goldman Sachs that Tesla may need to raise up to $10 billion in capital over the next two years to remain in operation. In late July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Musk asked some of Tesla’s suppliers to refund payments made by the company going back to 2016 in order for Tesla to reach profitability. This news caused a major surge in Tesla credit-default swaps, which now indicate that the company has a 42 percent chance of missing a debt payment in the next five years. Forget meeting production deadlines, Tesla might not have enough cash to keep its doors open within a few short years. Somehow it just doesn’t matter. It is almost as if the more Musk fails the greater his legend grows, and for reasons that make little sense the higher his stock price soars. 

Nikola Accuses Tesla of Design Patent Infringement on Aerodynamic Truck Cabin Features

On April 30th, alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer Nikola Corporation filed a complaint alleging claims of design patent infringement against electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. Filed in the District of Arizona, Nikola’s complaint accuses Tesla of copying various elements of design patents held by Nikola in the area of heavy duty semi truck cabin design.

Microsoft Announces Shared Innovation Initiative Encouraging Industry Partners to Patent Collaborative Innovations

On Wednesday, April 4th, the official Microsoft blog published a post written by the company’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, which announced the company’s new Shared Innovation Initiative. The initiative involves a series of principles which the Redmond, WA-based tech giant says should address issues related to intellectual property and technologies which are co-created with Microsoft’s industry customers so as to help those customers grow their business while allowing Microsoft to continue improving its platform products.

When Will Wall Street Wake Up to Elon Musk’s Broken Promises?

Reports about Musk’s talks with Cortica comes one day after Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino affirmed his sell rating for Tesla stock on his expectation that Tesla stock would drop by 30 percent over the next six months because of production issues… On the same day that Goldman Sachs reaffirmed its sell rating on Tesla stock, Musk posted a video to Instagram, which is emblematic of the CEO’s Alfred E. Neuman-esque style of response to any perceived corporate turbulence. The video shows Musk in a bar in Jerusalem pouring flaming absinthe. Musk’s Instagram declaration that “Everything’s better with fire …” smacks of the same “What, me worry?” attitude that has allowed him to navigate uncertainty in meeting production goals without eroding shareholder confidence.

Looking Back on Five Years With IPWatchdog

Somewhere near the end of 2011, I responded to an ad that was left on Craigslist. A website called IPWatchdog.com was looking for a writer to contribute content on Apple’s patenting activities… Over the past five years, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be an inventor in today’s patent system. I’ve learned that, unless you have the deep wallets to create advocacy groups which beat the drums for further patent reforms in service to the efficient infringer lobby, you tend to get railroaded by the system… In short, I’ve learned that the United States of today is not the same country where the famed garage inventor can become a business success thanks to hard work and ingenuity. Today, the true beneficiaries of innovation seem to be those well-entrenched interests who can copy without great fear of reprisal, leaving the actual inventors without any true ability to commercialize and profit from their intellectual property.

Tesla continues to rack up patents despite Elon Musk’s supposed distaste for patents

For someone who avoids patents “whenever possible,” Musk and his companies sure do seek patents on a lot of innovations. So why can’t he just be honest about his motivations? Or why doesn’t he come out and explain that innovation demands patents and it just isn’t realistic to invest many millions, or in his case sometimes billions, into research and development if you cannot obtain and exercise exclusive rights? That is, after all, perfectly honest and true. You can’t invest in what you can’t own, and Musk knows that. For some reason he just doesn’t seem all that interested in his fans and shareholders realizing that undeniable truth.

Innography report pegs Salesforce.com, Tesla as top innovative firms

This list of top innovators put together by Forbes has been further refined by intellectual property analytics firm Innography to take a more objective, data-based approach in determining the world’s most innovative firms. In a report titled How Innovative Are They?, Innography takes the top five companies on Forbes’ list (Tesla, Salesforce.com, Regeneron, Incyte and Alexion, respectively) and measured them against six metrics: number of inventions; number of inventors; inventor locations; patents per inventor; and a metric Innography refers to as PatentStrength, a measure of both patent quality and filing activity.

Tesla battery patents further proof of Elon Musk’s duplicitous views on patents

Like so many other critics of the patent system, Musk seems to despise all patents except for his own. Of course, Musk never said he avoids patents altogether, just whenever possible. But if you look at his enterprises, including Tesla, it is hard to detect evidence of patent avoidance of any kind at any time. So when Musk speaks on patents it is nothing more than encouraging people to do as he says not as he and his companies do for themselves. I guess you might say that Elon Musk doesn’t like other people’s patents, but his are perfectly OK.

Could Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg join the Trump Administration?

Text messages sent between Andreesen and Erskine Bowles speak to Zuckerberg’s desire to be able to maintain control of Facebook while possibly serving two years in government… The fact that Zuckerberg is open to serving in government might actually carry some sway with the Trump transition team, which includes a Facebook connection through Peter Thiel… Given Zuckerberg’s stances on Internet issues, one possible position for Zuckerberg could be at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The new Elon Musk master plan for Tesla reeks of overconfidence

Elon Musk’s updated master plan reeks of overconfidence. He envisions entire fleets of autonomous Tesla vehicles while missing recent sales targets by thousands of units. He wants to pump massive amounts of money into R&D for autonomous technologies and new types of vehicles, but the company is having trouble with bleeding warranty costs which are double the amount seen at Ford or GM. The lack of timeline details in the master plan was not well received by financial analysts and Tesla stock was down by 3 percent in the days after the announcement.

Rep. Lamar Smith calls NOAA ‘afraid of innovation’ during hearing on weather satellites

The day’s most withering criticisms, however, came from the House science committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Smith contended that NOAA’s problems had been debated by the committee for years and focused on the delays and rising costs of the current JPSS program. “Congress should not continue to fund an over-budgeted program that has not performed to standards,” he said. He added that he wasn’t convinced that the NOAA is adequately addressing weather data gap risks and said they were “dragging their feet” on considering options. “If NOAA’s afraid of innovation, maybe they shouldn’t be in the business of deciding what technologies are needed to improve forecasting,” Smith said.

Musk fanboys at Barron’s take dim view of patents at their own readers’ expense

A recent Barron’s editorial, however, has raised some eyebrows among those who are familiar with the effect of proper patent enforcement on financial fortunes. Published May 14th, “Patents Can Be Dangerous to Inventors’ Welfare” is a perfect example of how a rather odious point-of-view can be freshened and sweetened when some of the inconvenient truths are laid by the wayside.

Signs of turbulence in Musk’s business holdings grow as SolarCity reduces jobs commitment at Buffalo, NY plant

SolarCity was a little more muted on the topic of how many jobs it would create in Buffalo, and yet those promises are still being broken. News reports from the area pinned a definitive number on exactly how many jobs the Buffalo plant will create: 1,460. This included, according to news reports, at least 1,000 production jobs to create shifts of 300 to 400 workers which could operate the plant around the clock. A reported 400 jobs would be for engineers and require at least a bachelor’s degree. Residents of the city (including this writer) can tell you that, although the city has shown signs of pulling itself out of a decades-long depression, many hopes involving Buffalo’s immediate economic futures have been pinned on SolarCity, and the state has backed that hope up to the tune of $750 million. This represents most of the cash set aside for Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative which is currently under heavy investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara based on a series of subpoenas issued by federal prosecutors over the past year.