Posts Tagged: "innovation"

Silicon Valley’s Anti-Patent Propaganda: Success at What Cost?

To a large extent Apple, Microsoft and many other Silicon Valley innovators went along with the anti-patent rhetoric perfected by the Google machine. The Silicon Valley elite who have been bemoaning the patent system and patent trolls succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, convincing everyone of problems that don’t exist. So successful has this misinformation campaign been that now patents owned by everyone in the high-tech sector are at least worth less, if not completely worthless. By taking a short-sighted view of the litigation problems they were facing they took direct aim on the patent system, their own patent portfolios and the essence of their competitive advantage. Institutional shareholders in any company that has lobbied for patent weakening policies and court rulings should be appalled and may well want to seek out attorneys specializing in shareholder lawsuits.

When You Believe: A High Tech Entrepreneur’s Story

One of the Patent Examiners was surprised that I was there by myself and asked why I didn’t have an “army” of attorneys with me, as I was from Silicon Valley. I noted that not all startups are well funded like Facebook or Google. I went on to explain that well-funded startups and large companies were copying our ideas, cloning our products, selling to our customers and costing us revenue. Because of the increasing competition in NFC mobile payments, I was also having problems getting funding. I even explained how we had to downsize and put product development on hold. That was a new revelation for the patent Examiner, who was surprised.

Dark Days Ahead: The Patent Pendulum

All of this can really be traced all the way back to the flash of creative genius test by the Supreme Court, which Congress specifically outlawed in the 1952 Patent Act. It is no doubt making a resurgence under slightly different terminology, but make no mistake — Judges are making subjective decisions about innovations in a way that is remarkable similar to how the flash of creative genius test was applied. But today the problem is not only all of the aforementioned, misguided beliefs, but rather we have a general problem with ignorance. It is self evident to anyone who cares to be honest and objective that it takes time and money to innovate; innovation does not simply fall out of the sky or invent itself.

Fairy Tales and Other Irrational Beliefs About Patents

Without a competitive advantage sane people do not invest money in even simple gadgets, which is why it is extraordinarily difficult to get a licensing deal without a patent, and why the first question investors ask is about your patent position. As celebrated inventor Dean Kamen has said, “[t]he first thing the bank or that venture capitalist will say is, ‘Do you have a patent?’” This is the common experiences shared by everyone in the industry. Those who say it isn’t so are simply not credible.

Improving Innovation Climate Critical to US Economic Future

We have thoroughly destroyed the manufacturing capabilities of the United States and in the process decimated middle class America. The Supreme Court is forcing an anti-patent agenda on the courts, which makes it increasingly difficult climate for those in the biotechnology and software industries, two industries that employ large number of Americans and provide extremely high paying jobs. Companies are also simultaneously fleeing the U.S. for corporate tax purposes and/or refusing to repatriate trillions of dollars earned over seas else it would be taxed once again by the IRS. In short, we are shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again, then taking the time to thoughtfully reload and recommence shooting in said foot. There is no real reason for optimism given the political climate in DC and the reality that innovative advances that are now stalled in the patent system have historically carried us out of recessions and onward to prosperity; something that just won’t happen given the current manufacturing, patent and tax policies and laws.

Department of Energy Pumps Money into Offshore Wind Energy

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, there is a potential 4.15 gigawatts of energy which can be collected from offshore wind collection around the country’s waters. The total electric generating capacity of the entire nation was 1.01 gigawatts as of 2008. All of this energy can be collected from waters within 50 nautical miles of America’s shorelines… Offshore wind farms face unique problems in seafloor depth and corrosion from ocean water which can cause higher operational costs in the form of maintenance team transport and replacement components. Offshore wind technology development projects are needed to develop tools for engineering modeling and analysis which can spur further innovation and lower the facility costs for offshore projects.

Best Practices for Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Many great companies accomplish innovation objectives under the leadership of household-name visionary leaders such as Bill Gates and Andy Grove. But we all know that people don’t stay with companies forever, and the culture must be prepared to innovate with or without their day-to-day presence. Companies that are overly dependent on the physical presence of their founders cannot be sustained. The marketplace seems to be confident, for example, that Apple® will continue to thrive without the dynamic leadership of Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, because he established a genuine and sustainable culture of innovation. Team-driven innovation will create leaders at all levels that can sustain, perpetuate, and strengthen the founder’s vision long after he or she steps down from the helm of the company. Investments in training, commitments to empowerment and delegation, and the development of meaningful succession plans are all critical elements of this process.

Does Innovation Lead to Prosperity for All?

Whether innovation benefits the masses or just the elites has major policy ramifications. If the later, shouldn’t government insure a fair division of the economic pie? And is the patent system critical for economic growth or a tool for the powerful to plunder the helpless? — How to create a prosperous economy– and the appropriate role of government– is a pivotal issue of our time… The Wright brothers disdained government funds because of the bureaucratic micromanagement that came with it. Langley blamed his failure on inadequate government funding— still the favored excuse when federal programs flop.

The Case for Incremental Innovation: The Importance of Protecting Follow-on Pharmaceutical Discoveries

The value of such innovation is best measured through the improved health outcomes for patients. In this context, a few examples from the developing world are even more illustrative. Given that those who most vehemently oppose protection for incremental innovations frequently cite the need for treatments for neglected diseases and maladies of the developing world, it is important to note that many of the treatments that do exist for the world’s most vulnerable populations are themselves incremental innovations. Numerous incremental innovations have resulted in improvements that have specific application to neglected diseases and the maladies of the developing world.

The Evolution of Air Conditioning Technology

Evidence about man’s attempts to provide some sort of cooling technology to beat the heat in warmer climates extends back almost 2,000 years. Early air conditioning systems from 2nd century China, for example, involved a manually-powered rotary fan designed to force air through a room. In 3rd century Rome, a system was developed for the importing of ice from the mountain regions via donkey train to cool the garden of Emperor Elagabalus… Another attempt at improving air conditioning technology arose in response to one of the sadder days in the history of the United States. On July 2nd, 1881, U.S. President James Garfield was shot by an assassin and passed away more than two months later, on September 19th of that year. In order to provide comfort to the commander in chief during his final weeks, engineers from the U.S. Navy constructed a cooling unit that blows hot air over a water-soaked cloth, forcing cool air to travel underneath the hot air.

The Story of How Patents Promote Innovation

Those who claim that patents harm innovation and stifle innovation see a patent at an insurmountable hurdle, or perhaps a brick wall. There is no way around the obstacle. The only option is to infringe or simply not offer the product or service, but to them that is not an option because if they can’t sell the product that they want to sell then that has to mean that innovation is being harmed. I have always found it odd how true inventors so frequently don’t think what they have come up with is unique enough to pursue a patent, but copycats who offer little or nothing unique conclude that their product represents innovation and it would be an afront to humanity if they are not able to sell it without having to pay a licensing fee to the innovator.

Do Patents Truly Promote Innovation?

Invention, it has been shown, is driven primarily not by genius or happenstance but rather by markets and the expectation of the profit that can be gained by securing the patent rights to new technologies. Zorina Khan of Bowdoin College and the late Kenneth Sokoloff at UCLA found that among the “great inventors” of the 19th century, “their patterns of patenting were procyclical [and] responded to expected profit opportunities.” And as Khan noted elsewhere, “Ordinary people [are] stimulated by higher perceived returns or demand-side incentives to make long-term commitments to inventive activity.” By contrast, in countries without patent rights, Barro (1995) found that people have an “excessive incentive to copy” and insufficient incentive to invent for themselves. Moser (2004), meanwhile, reported that “inventors in countries without patent laws focus on a small set of industries … while innovation in countries with patent laws [is] much more diversified.”

Stanford Invests $1.35 Billion Annually Leading to Diverse Innovation

Stanford sets aside an annual research budget of about $1.35 billion to fund its development operations for 2013-2014, and since the 1930s the university has been the starting grounds for nearly 40,000 companies, creating about 5.4 million jobs total. A 2012 study conducted by Stanford estimated that companies formed by Stanford entrepreneurs generate world revenues of $2.7 trillion annually. Recent Stanford research projects have included new techniques for the successful removal of stomach cancer cells, as well as biological surveys of marine life showing how crude oil leaks can affect heart health in fish. Today, we’re looking at the recent publications released from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assigned directly to Stanford University to take a snapshot look at the innovative side of this academic institution.

Univ. of California Invents: From Video Games to Treating E. coli

We’ve found an intriguing assortment of innovations in medical and industrial fields, and even the video game industry, coming out of these academic institutions. The featured patent application for today’s column would protect a system of better capturing video game player motion for physical activities required of games. This system would make it harder for users to cheat these games and complete tasks without completing the physical motion the game asks users to perform. Other patent applications we discovered include better systems of creating useful stem cells and a more effective topical formula for acne treatment.

The Legacy of George Washington Carver, Tuskegee Educator, Innovator and Renaissance Man

This experience in helping Southern farmers improve the soil in their fields soon led to what was to become a passion for Carver: peanuts. While peanuts were very useful in enriching the soil with nutrients, a new problem then arose: what to do with this plentiful crop of peanuts? And having now encouraged farmers to plant more peanuts to enrich the soil, Carver felt it was his obligation to find more uses for what was now becoming an overabundant commodity. So in 1903, Carver began working in earnest on peanut science, and especially on the potential uses of peanuts. This research by Carver on peanuts made him the innovator of what eventually became a highly marketable and profitable industry now worth well in excess of $500 million.