Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mentioning innovation without mentioning patents

CBS Sunday Morning on 10 Jan 2010 had a lead story titled The Wellspring of American Creativity and sub-titled Will Innovation Ever Be in Short Supply?

No, the word "patent" did not appear anywhere in the story. The word "inventor[s]" showed up at the end of the story:

"We need to celebrate people - not people who try to get into balloons to go on reality television and not people who lose, you know, 300 pounds on a television show," said Daniel Pink. "We need to celebrate the inventors and the scientists and the creators in this country."

["Invent" only appeared at one other place in the story, in the sentence from Isaacson: "You've seen that great Industrial Revolution where people were inventing the telephone, the telegraph, the light bulb, and everything else, the phonograph. [?] You've seen the push that came because of the Internet and the digital revolution. And now we're looking for what's going to be the engine or the driver of a new creativity." ]

Of Pink's remark, IPBiz notes, as a start, we need to give inventors a chance at the U.S. Patent Office, but that was not part of the CBS story. Driving innovation starts by giving inventors an opportunity to bring their invention into the marketplace. "Celebrating" inventors is not the issue. How many people celebrated Chester Carlson? But the then-existing patent office gave Carlson the chance to have xerography change the way we live.

The CBS piece referenced the shopworn story of physicists in finance:

"I think one problem we've had is that people who are smart and creative and innovative as engineers went into financial engineering," he replied. "They decided to go Wall Street and create derivatives and hedge funds, and all sorts of CDOs that didn't really help our economy, and I think may have really hurt the economy.

"When the financial sector sucks up all or your creativity, I don't think you're going to have the most creative society," Walter Isaacson said.

Separately, the story on Chuck Williams of Williams-Sonoma featured how Williams would move ideas from Europe to the US, or from the professional cooking area to homes. Thus, the story illustrated how one can be innovative without being inventive. Howard Lester is mentioned as someone who brought business sense. Innovation requires more than idea, whether that idea is inventive or not. Williams' idea would not have survived the marketplace without Lester. The story ended: "if you love what you do, the world will fall in love with you." Unfortunately, if the patent office doesn't give inventors a chance, the world will never learn of the inventors.

"Sunday Morning" also credited the inventor of the Pez character head dispenser.

***a footnote

On Elvis: "got what he wanted; lost what he had." IPBiz notes inventors who can't get applications processed at the USPTO do not get what they want, and likely will lose what they had.


Blogger Dale B. Halling said...

Excellent points. There appears to be a conspiracy to ignore inventors – the people who actually advance the world of technological innovation. Technological innovation is what actually increases real per capita GDP.

5:44 PM  

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