Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Big Idea: Funding Eureka! - Harvard Business Review
by Nathan Myhrvold
"My company, Intellectual Ventures, is misunderstood. We have been reviled as a patent troll—a renegade outfit that buys up patents and then uses them to hold up innocent companies. What we’re really trying to do is create a capital market for inventions akin to the venture capital market that supports start-ups and the private equity market that revitalizes inefficient companies. Our goal is to make applied research a profitable activity that attracts vastly more private investment than it does today so that the number of inventions generated soars."

In reality, patents the way they are now are more trouble than benefit.
The problem is not the lack of market, it is obsolete rules.
The same rules that worked 100+ years ago are still used mostly unchanged.
That would be as regulating cars and air traffic by rules for driving trains.

What is required now is a universal expandable and specific LANGUAGE
that will not leave much space of "interpretation".
In such case, it would be possible to quickly inspect by computers
what is already "public knowledge" and what is really new.
If a solution is usable, open market will determine its value.
Protecting ownership should be a public service, like police,
nor a responsibility of individuals or organizations.

Such system would move much faster, and the profit will go to innovators,
both individual and institutional, not to litigators and "investors".

Since the role of defining simple and usable rules is up to government,
the best case scenario is that one or a few smart people propose simple system,
and convince public in its value, and then let government back this.

Something like: on the road one can drive on right hand side only.
Stop on red light, drive on green light. Obey traffic signs...
While red/green rule may be the similar for trains,
on the open road additional simple rules ("right only") are needed...

Patents as a tool do have value, should just be modernized to be relevant
for requirements of 21st century technology and global society.