Friday, August 24, 2007

Did Mark Lemley name Gary Boone as the inventor of the integrated circuit?

Of Lemley naming Gary Boone as the inventor of the integrated circuit (IC), note the following thread at patenthawk on August 23-24, 2007:

#1. An initial post appeared on PatentHawk critical of Professor Mark Lemley of Stanford University on August 23, 2007 at 12:57pm.

#2. At 4:56pm, approximately 4 hours later, LBE had a post which included the words, Lemley elsewhere proclaimed Gary Boone to be the inventor of the integrated circuit.

#3. At 11:59pm, about 7 hours after the LBE post, Michael F. Martin said:

Mr. Ebert,

Prof. Lemley never claimed that Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit. Rather Lemley claimed that the technology that in Boone's patent, titled "Single Chip Integrated Circuit Computer Architecture" was not caught up in a patent thicket in part because the Hyatt v. Boone interference proceeding went on for so long.

I'm sure it would have been more precise to call what Boone and Hyatt were fighting over something else, but it was really a research assistant's mistake rather than a substantive error by Lemley.

#4. On August 24 at 6:49am, about 7 hours after the Martin post, LBE said:

Michael Martin states that Prof. Lemley never claimed that Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit. For reference:

Mark A. Lemley, Patenting Nanotechnology, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 601, 611-612 (2005):

The integrated circuit was itself an improvement in the field of computing, a way of building transistors (an invention discussed above) [p. 612] directly into a computer chip by using charged silicon, a semiconductor. The invention opened up not just computing but also calculators, cell phones, and a host of other portable electronic devices. But because two different inventors working independently developed the integrated circuit at about the same time (1971), the patents were put into interference. Gary Boone was ultimately declared the winner, but not until 1999, twenty-eight years after the first patent application was filed.

#5. LBE also said at August 24 at 7:02am:

As one further remark about Michael Martin's (incorrect) assertion about the "Gary Boone" matter, note the following:

Mark A. Lemley, Patenting Nanotechnology, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 601 (2005) -->

Thanks to John Allison, Chris Cotropia, Rochelle Dreyfuss, Nathan Durrance, Hank Greely, Rose Hagan, David Jaffer, Joseph Mallen, Greg Mandel, Michael Martin, Judge Margaret McKeown, John Miller, Craig Nard, Matt Powers, Bhaven Sampat, Madhavi Sunder, Hal Wegner, and participants at programs at Stanford Law School, the University of San Diego School of Law, the U.C. Davis School of Law, and the Foresight Nanotech Institute conference for their helpful comments, and to Michael Martin for research assistance.

Footnote 15: He does include "nanometer," which covers both clear nanotechnology inventions involving nanoscale gate size and nanofiltration and unrelated inventions dealing with optics (because the wavelength of visible light is measured in nanometers, regardless of the scale of the application). Altering Sampat's search to exclude "nanometer" reduces the number of patents substantially: only 56% of Sampat's issued patents, and 67% of the published applications, do not include any reference to "nanometer" in the claims. Communication from Michael F. Martin to Mark A. Lemley (Feb. 4, 2005) (on file with author). But while some of those patents are likely to be unrelated to nanotechnology as I have defined it, many will be true nanotech patents, especially in the semiconductor field.

LBE said later (7:22am)--> Separate from the lack of knowledge of patent law manifested by many of the intellectual property academics, there is an odd daisy-chaining behavior in many of the publications.

For example, Lemley in his rational ignorance paper (95 Nw. U.L. Rev. 1495), cites to the (then) unpublished work of Quillen and Webster:

The Quillen-Webster study suggests, moreover, that they ultimately issue an astonishing ninety-seven percent of the unique applications filed. n126

[with the reference amounting to Cecil D. Quillen, Jr. & Ogden H. Webster, Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S. Patent Office (2000) (working paper, on file with author).]

In turn, Quillen and Webster in their second paper (12 Fed. Cir. B.J. 35) cite to Lemley:

Numerous authors have addressed the problem of USPTO quality. See Mark A. Lemley, Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office, 95 NW. U. L. REV. 1495 (2001);

Quillen and Webster also cite an unpublished manuscript, which to date I have been unable to obtain from Professor Wegner:

Harold C. Wegner, Enronesque Patent Bookkeeping: Two-For-One Continuation Double Counting and American Patent Flooding (June 14, 2002) (unpublished manuscript, on file with author at Foley & Lardner).

Turning full circle, in his July 2007 paper on SSRN, Lemley effectively says (of the 97% business): just kidding guys; the number isn’t so high after all.

LBE notes in the real world of the integrated circuit of Noyce and Kilby, the two companies cut a deal AND IC users had to pay royalties to BOTH companies, quite a different story from the world of Hyatt and Boone and not the one discussed in Lemley's "Patenting Nanotechnolgy." Thus, we have a substantive error by Lemley.

IPBiz notes that the post of Michael F. Martin raises a whole different issue, in the realm of author responsibility. The text "really a research assistant's mistake rather than a substantive error by Lemley," wherein Lemley was clearly talking about the big invention of the integrated circuit when he wrote: The invention opened up not just computing but also calculators, cell phones, and a host of other portable electronic devices is both troubling and hard-to-believe.

Of the daisy-chaining issue, Patrick Doody had written: "The [patent system] critics consist of a tightly knit group of university professors and non-patent attorneys who are critical of the patent system and who favor weakening patent rights. The critics publish countless articles every year and repeatedly cite to one another's work, if not simply to repeat it or provide a synopsis thereof in a different venue, which gives the impression that there are numerous opinions consistently critical of the patent system. This coterie of most frequently published patent critics is so insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of their work is likely."

This sub-thread has been posted on IPBiz in recognition of the Sikahema Effect.
Vai Sikahema had an op-ed in August 2006 on "Rutgers is Wrong," but one can't find the op-ed, or Rutgers football tickets, in August 2007. Hasta la vista, baby! Things that might construed to be incorrect, or simply stupid, don't necessarily have a long half-life on the internet.

An IPBiz reader wrote: Are you surprised Martin spoke up, defending Lemley? IPBiz is not surprised, given Martin's involvement in researching/(writing?) "Patenting Nanotechnology." Note that on the thread in PatentHawk Martin did not disclose his involvement with "Patenting Nanotechnology" or with Lemley.

To alleviate any confusion caused by Lemley's statement in Patenting Nanotechnology, Gary Boone had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PATENTS ON THE INTEGRATED CIRCUIT. Noyce and Kilby filed applications with claims pertaining to the integrated circuit, and there was indeed an interference between Noyce and Kilby, which went to the CCPA years and years before the Hyatt/Boone case discussed by Lemley. The outcome of the Noyce/Kilby matter is completely different from that reported by Lemley in his "alternative history" version of the integrated circuit.


As further evidence that Noyce and Kilby are the inventors, see
True Tech Legends Finally Come Clean On Brillo Box, Spit which includes the text:

Besides co-founding Intel, Noyce, who died in 1990, is credited with inventing the integrated circuit while at Fairchild. (Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments is also credited.)

Separately, the first customer for Fairchild's transistors was IBM: He [Jay Last] went to a store in August 1958 to get something [Brillo box] the company could use to mail its first transistors, to customer IBM.


Blogger Lawrence B. Ebert said...

Note a link to this post at

7:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home