Sunday, July 04, 2010

Whining about Bilski

IPBiz has discussed some fantasies brought to you from the MIT Technology Review [eg,
MIT Tech Rev boosting battery re-charging method

In Bummed Out About Bilski, Brad Feld wrote on July 1:

I’ve been quiet on my reaction to Bilski because I’ve got an OpEd floating around that might get published in the next few days. It’s been rejected by one major publisher because according to the senior editor ”it didn’t fit their opinion on the case” and another major publisher because “no one really cares that much about patents.” Ok – whatever. Fortunately, I have a blog, but I’ll wait a few more days and see if I can get someone in the traditional media to care.

In the mean time, my partner Jason has written a post titled Bilski Redux and Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read and Fred Wilson has also weighed in that it’s time for Congress to buck up and take some action in his post Bilski and Patent Reform.

***And from -->

Back in March 2009, IPBiz wrote:

As noted by IPBiz, IAM used material in MIT's Technology Review to prop up Intellectual Ventures against a "troll smear" by Matt Asay. The IAM argument would seem to run: if it's discussed favorably by MIT Technology Review, it must be good technology, and thus IV has good technology in addition to whatever else it's doing.

Of course, IPBiz recalled how favorably MIT Technology Review discussed the completely fraudulent work of Jan-Hendrik Schon:

IPBiz notes the following commentary by the same MIT Technology Review on the fraudulent work of Jan Hendrik Schon:

Hendrik Schön is reinventing the transistor at the place it was born. He and his Bell Labs coworkers have produced single-molecule transistors whose electrical performance is comparable to that of today’s best silicon devices but which are hundreds of times smaller. Making such molecular transistors, which could lead to ultrafast, ultrasmall computers, has been a goal of researchers for years; Schön’s clever design established Bell Labs as a leader in the race. But Schön is not interested in simply reinventing the transistor. He wants to change the very materials that form microelectronics,replacing inorganic semiconductors with organic molecules. Schön has made an organic high-temperature superconductor, renewing hopes that superconductors could have widespread electronic applications. He also helped devise the first electrically driven organic laser, which could mean cheaper optoelectronic devices. The soft-spoken Schön recalls being “very surprised” by how well his molecular transistors worked. But it won’t be a surprise if Schön helps transform microelectronics.

This rosy, but highly unrealistic, picture put forth by MIT Technology Review was vaporized when it turned out that all of Schon's work was fabricated. What was a surprise was how easily Technology Review was duped.

***Meanwhile, at Techdirt, The Myth That Without Gov't Monopolies Or Subsidies, Discoveries Will Be Hidden By Secrets which includes the text:

The problem, it turns out, is that as with patents there is no actual data to back this up. Kealey points out that there is no historical or econometric data anywhere that supports this claim. For example, he points to the OECD's sources of economic growth report (pdf), where it found very high correlation between economic growth and countries that had high levels of private R&D. When it came to publicly supported R&D, the report found no impact on economic growth... but, more worrying, it found evidence that public funding of science tended to crowd out private funding of R&D, which (again) correlated highly with economic growth. Now, of course, correlation is not causation, and there may be many other factors at play here. However, it is interesting that there doesn't appear to be any direct evidence that public expenditure in science leads to economic growth.

***Also on Bilski, from Business Methods: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" - U.S. Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Bilski v. Kappos

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski has effectively maintained the status quo through its restraint to devise new tests or limitations for determining patent eligible subject matter. This may be viewed as a promising result in one respect, as the Court has neither destroyed nor created any areas of patentability, even leaving open the possibility that some business methods are patentable. Also, since the machine-or-transformation test is no longer an exclusive test under section 101, rigid application of the test should no longer pose a stringent limitation to patent eligibility; however, it remains to be seen how the test for eligibility will be applied by the U.S. Patent Office (“USPTO”) and the Federal Circuit. In effect, the analysis of patent eligibility under section 101 has reverted to the traditional analysis since the Supreme Court last opined on the matter. On the day the Bilski decision was released, the USPTO issued a memorandum to its Examiner's providing interim guidance to continue applying the machine-or-transformation test until the USPTO reviews the decision and develops further guidance.


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