From the Twitter blog:
One of the great things about Twitter is working with so many talented folks who dream up and build incredible products day in and day out. Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions. However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement, which we informally call the "IPA". : Continue reading :
While he was not as well-known as others, Lemelson, known as "Jerry," was one of the most prolific inventors of the 20th century, with some 600 patents to his credit for products like automated warehouses, industrial robots, cordless telephones, fax machines, videocassette recorders, camcorders and the magnetic tape drive used in Sony’s Walkman tape players. Lemelson also made a name for himself-not always in a positive way-as a defender of inventor’s rights, where he actively sued organizations and companies he felt had infringed upon his patents. (Source)
How much are their 1,100 granted patents going to sell Yahoo! with a social networking and data interest?
Three Boston University researchers have put a price tag on the cost of patent trolling in the US. The amount is a staggering $500 billion since 1990. In the past four years, the cost has averaged about $83 billion annually. (Source)
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.
The theory of patent law is based on the idea that a lone genius can solve problems that stump the experts, and that the lone genius will do so only if properly incented. We deny patents on inventions that are "obvious" to ordinarily innovative scientists in the field. Our goal is to encourage extraordinary inventions - those that we wouldn’t expect to get without the incentive of a patent.
The canonical story of the lone genius inventor is largely a myth. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb; he found a bamboo fiber that worked better as a filament in the light bulb developed by Sawyer and Man, who in turn built on lighting work done by others. Bell filed for his telephone patent on the very same day as an independent inventor, Elisha Gray; the case ultimately went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which filled an entire volume of U.S. Reports resolving the question of whether Bell could have a patent despite the fact that he hadn’t actually gotten the invention to work at the time he filed. The Wright Brothers were the first to fly at Kitty Hawk, but their plane didn’t work very well, and was quickly surpassed by aircraft built by Glenn Curtis and others - planes that the Wrights delayed by over a decade with patent lawsuits.
The point can be made more general: surveys of hundreds of significant new technologies show that almost all of them are invented simultaneously or nearly simultaneously by two or more teams working independently of each other. Invention appears in significant part to be a social, not an individual, phenomenon. Inventors build on the work of those who came before, and new ideas are often "in the air," or result from changes in market demand or the availability of new or cheaper starting materials. And in the few circumstances where that is not true - where inventions truly are "singletons" - it is often because of an accident or error in the experiment rather than a conscious effort to invent. (Source)
Back to the philosophy of science, which we’ll artificially break down into two schools, the incrementalist and the revolutionary. The incrementalist believes that there are memes which are filtering through society which will eventually manifest themselves. If Newton didn’t stand on the shoulders of giants and write down the Calculus, Leibniz would have. Some people are better at collating ideas than others, but if any one genius were hit by a bus tomorrow, then the sciences would continue to advance. The revolutionary theory states that certain geniuses push forward the frontiers single-handedly. If Einstein hadn’t worked out the Lorentz equations, nobody else on Earth would have for a long time to come. (Source)
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the distinction between innovation and intellectual property- through thought leadership, accelerators and a host of other implementations, will Montreal rise as being the leader in open source in the 21st Century?
Big companies in a tech sector help startups in a lot of ways. First, they're great opportunities for partnerships. Second, they make excellent acquirers. Finally, as executives in a big company hit a "glass ceiling", they tend to peel off and join or start new ventures.
We don't have one in Montreal. I don't think that's going to change soon, except if some of the current Open Source startups grow bigger.A(Source)
The White House isAasking us to give them ideas on what is blocking innovation in America. I thought I’d give them an honest answer. Here it is:
Current intellectual property laws are blocking innovation.President Obama justAset a goal of wireless access for everyone in the US, saying it will spark innovation. But that’s only true if people are allowed to actually do innovative things once they are online.
You have to choose. You can prop up old business models with overbearing intellectual property laws that hit innovators on the head whenever they stick their heads up from the ground; OR you can have innovation. You can’t have both. And right now, the balance is away from innovation.