The Silicon Graybeard

At this time, there are just two: that one and another here. There may be more by enough time you read this. To start with, I believe all systems of laws can broadly be broken into “THE NICE, The Bad and The Ugly”, to borrow a term. I believe Anon@11:06, waxes near to the “knowledge should be free” ideal (and pardon me if I’m putting words in the mouth area), saying that patents are unlawful monopolies and anti-intellectual.

I think I’ve stated before that I’m too pragmatic to be always a good idealist; I could hold mutually contradictory opinions on many topics, which is one. Personally, I’ve developed several really large Intellectual Property initiatives in my life, totally outside my profession, and I’ve given both of these away. We’re speaking working evenings and weekends for a long time, to provide away what I know just. Giving them away was my choice.

The the truth is that developing products often requires a lot of your time, money and energy, and someone has to pay for it. People who develop those products work hard and should have to be covered that work. Think of the merchandise that take a team of 10 or 100 or thousand employees several years and huge amounts of money to develop.

Think about creating a new microprocessor: how many people work on a new processor chip at Intel or AMD? Think about the invention of the semiconductor itself? Think about a new jet like the 787? How many thousands of individuals in a huge selection of companies developed things that go on to that plane? The ongoing companies that develop big things like those have a tendency to be big, publicly traded companies and they are betting other people’s money. Is a company going to spend that kind of money if there’s no guarantee of at least some period where they can protect that hard-won knowledge – or a few of it? Just how much of modern life wouldn’t can be found if that purpose wasn’t there?

I think one of the reasons that our country is rolling out such might is the patent system and inventors keeping the privileges to benefit from their inventions. That’s the good aspect of patent rules. And that is where DiveMedic’s comment, about “Large companies with armies of attorneys game the machine, taking what they need and either settling out of court or tying it up in courtroom for a long time,” He’s exactly, 100% right. This is actually the bad aspect of patent legislation.

Or the awful side. They may be trying to protect their investments, or they could just predatory be. If it would go to court, just being predatory gets kicked out (or it will). Consider when Pepsi Dude (John Sculley) was at Apple, and seemed to be established to sue everyone for everything, rather than innovate.

This is excatly why, as I mentioned yesterday, smaller companies are considering patents than twenty years ago differently. The money to be produced in hi-tech has been the first on the market with the cool product. A 20 calendar year patent doesn’t imply much in that world. They don’t really waste a minute, they get it on the market.

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This is just scratching the top of a big topic. It’s a blended handbag of good, bad and ugly stories. You will find stories from days gone by of brilliant inventors being turn off by patent holders (see for example the story of Edwin Armstrong and David Sarnoff) and important inventions being blocked from the marketplace. You will find predatory uses of patents. On balance, like everything else, bad people will utilize it for bad ends; good people won’t.

This is exactly what happened in Thailand when the dollar got more powerful in the world markets. In other words, the design of the pegging and exchange rate system is the key element. Inside a crawling band system – the wider the band, the less the volatility of the exchange rate. This European Monetary System (EMS – ERM), known as “The Snake”, needed to realign itself several times through the 1990s and each and every time the solution was to broaden the bands within that your exchange rates were allowed to fluctuate.

Israel had to do it double. On June 18th, the band was doubled and the Shekel can go up and down by 10% in each path. But fixed exchange rates offer other problems. The conditioning real exchange rate attracts foreign capital. This is not the kind of foreign capital that countries are looking for.