Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Myhrvold's " The Big Idea: Funding Eureka! " in March 2010 HBR

The Harvard Business Review, which brought you Plagiarize with Pride, has an article by Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures in the March 2010 issue.

Included in the Myhrvold text:

The lessons we have learned so far suggest that a full-fledged invention capital system could solve many of the problems that have long plagued both inventors and the consumers of inventions: inadequate funding for applied research, an inefficient market for connecting companies with the inventions they need and for monetizing inventions, a balkanization of the inventors and inventions required to tackle big problems, and an enforcement and arbitration system that simultaneously permits too much infringement and relies too heavily on lawsuits to determine price.

STEVE LOHR covers the HBR piece, and cites Josh Lerner as a "patent expert."
Of the issues, Lohr writes:

In the article and in conversation, Mr. Myhrvold describes the patent world as a vastly underdeveloped market, starved for private capital and too dependent on federal financing for universities and government agencies, which is mainly aimed at scientific discovery anyway. Eventually, he foresees patents being valued as a separate asset class, like real estate or securities.

His antagonists, he says, are the “cozy oligarchy” of big technology companies like I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and others that typically reach cross-licensing agreements with each other, and then refuse to deal with or acknowledge the work of inventors or smaller companies.

IPBiz notes that Standard Oil (Exxon) and other oil companies were into cozy cross-licensing agreements long before there was an IBM or HP. Same old, same old...
IBM refused to acknowledge the work of Chester Carlson, or to deal with him, and then spent the 1970's trying to design around him.

***In passing, from a line in the Elvis Presley movie "Follow that Dream,"

I became a vice-president by following the principle "never contradict the boss."

"Follow that Dream" was based on the novel by Richard Powell "Pioneer, Go Home!" which was based on a true event in Florida:

Powell learned that the state of Florida had just built a bridge to Pine Island. The fill used to build the bridge, inadvertently created a tract of land that did not exist on maps. A group of squatters moved onto the land, building shacks and starting small businesses, as in the novel. Eventually, the state granted property titles to the squatters.

There is a New Jersey connection. The Kwimpers of the novel and movie came from Cranberry County, New Jersey.


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