Monday, June 09, 2014

Do academics care about innovation?

Discussion of 102(b)(1) in 2011 included the text [the inventor] can thus take full advantage of the grace period and disclose his invention in academic papers and at trade shows without worrying that such disclosures will lead to theft or fraudulent invalidation of his patent." Congressional Record, Sept. 6, 2011, S. 5320. Numerous patent attorneys have pointed to the weakness of the 102(b)(1)(B) exception. If there are any patentable ideas within a disclosure that an academic wants published, or extensions to patentable ideas, the patent attorney would be well-advised to recommend filing a patent application prior to publishing. A recent PLI course even noted that a cover-sheet provisional, with no claims, would be better than "no filing."

The theme of academics not caring about actual innovation of an idea is not new.

Within a 50 year old episode of "The Avengers" (pre Diana Rigg; pre Honor Blackman) one has depicted the difference in viewpoint to invention of the scientist, the businessman, and the politician. The episode of the Avengers "A Chorus of Frogs" (1963) contains the line: "Ah, the scientist, you do not understand politics." Response of the scientist as to politics: "Unreliable and imprecise."

Villain/businessman "Peligo Mason" (Eric Pohlmann) supplied the voice of the unseen Blofeld in the James Bond features "From Russia with Love" (1963) and "Thunderball" (1965). Mason reminds the scientist: "Remember, it's my money."

In an episode wherein the Chinese (embodied by "Anna Lee") are the political villains (1963!), "Venus Smith" is seen with a book and a recording for "Learning Cantonese."

Anna Lee to the scientist: "I'm talking common sense." When you succeed, I suppose you will go around giving lectures. The scientist agrees.

Mason: Anna Lee has a certain proprietary interest in my work.

Steed gives some historical science background to breathing underwater: Caisson disease.

The coded message:

Malaga next week. Hector much worse.

fails to get delivered, and Venus is snagged. But in the end, this "sale" of valuable secrets, in the 1963 context, is presented merely as a business deal.

The episode ends with Steed and Mason discussing a deal, and Anna Lee goes on her merry way.
"To China, better luck next time."



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