Ronald Katz, who has made an estimated $1 billion behind the power of 52 patents, came before an expectant group of licensing executives on Thursday, May 5, and described how he figured out that interactive telephone call processing would one day impact hundreds of millions of lives around the world.
In what was billed as the first formal speech about his career, Katz recalled the day in the early 1990s when he told the New York Times that he believed his patent portfolio royalties would one day be worth "in the tens of millions of dollars if not the hundreds of millions." His prediction was met with skepticism by the newspaper.
Early in his career, Katz formed Telecredit, Inc., the nation's first on- line, real-time credit and check authorizing system. He patented that system and between 1987 and 1993, he applied for 25 more patents and received approval for 20 of them.
In his keynote speech at the 2005 Spring Meeting of the Licensing Executive Society (USA and Canada) Inc., Katz seemed most proud of the day that CBS-TV used his technology to gauge viewer approval of a State of the Union speech by the senior President George Bush.
Katz said, "It was an extraordinary event. The network received 300,000 calls in a very short time ... it nearly shut down the telephone system."