Tag Archives: it industry

Inventors and inventions.

As recent events have confirmed – we have an active patent life.

Our inboxes keep getting filled with all sorts of e-mails – both positive and negative, interesting and insipid – about various patent claims and assorted inventions…

…Which got me thinking…

…Which led to my doing some research of some of the weird and wonderful – and totally wrong – predictions of ‘experts’ with regard to various new ideas, inventions and undertakings over the centuries.

Here’s an interesting list of 20 extremely bizarre absurdities which I found on the web; I’m sure it will at least raise an eyebrow or two, maybe compel a chuckle or three, or hopefully induce four LOLs:

1. “The fall of stones from the heavens is physically impossible.” – Paris Academy of Sciences on meteorites, 1772.

2. “In the future computers will weigh more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics, 1949.

3. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, CEO, IBM, 1943.

4. “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” – Editor, Business Books, Prentice Hall, 1957.

5. “But what…is it good for?” – Engineer, Advanced Computing Systems Division, IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

6. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olson, Chairman, Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

7. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.

8. “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – Associates of David Sarnoff who was seeking investment in the radio in the 1920s.

9. “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.” – Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing a reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

10. “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

11. “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co. suits rejecting the Beatles, 1962. (I LOLed to this one.)

12. “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

13. “That Professor Goddard with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react – to say that would be absurd. Of course, he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” – 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work. The remark was finally retracted in the July 17, 1969 issue.

14. “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” – Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

15. “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” – Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, 1911.

16. “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

17. “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

18. “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” – Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.

19. “640 kb ought to be enough for anybody.” – Attributed to Bill Gates, 1981.

20. “$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft.” – IBM, 1982.

As is becoming a habit already, I’ll finish with another brainteasing conundrum:

A rope is stretched snugly around the Equator. It gets cut at one point and an extra one-meter section is inserted to its length. If this rope could magically float on air so that it is fully stretched out (as before), how far above the earth would it be floating?

Silicon Island.

From time to time I tend to share some geo-politico-economic observations from my travels. Here’s one of those times…

There’s this island in the Atlantic – an island called Ireland. There aren’t a lot of useful things to extract out of the ground there, the climate’s nothing to write home about, and its location is quite a bit out of the way – let’s say… Euro-peripheral. And every now and again it suffers from a serious alien financial crisis.

So what’s a country with hardly the best physique in the gym to do? Think – that’s what!

And that’s just what they did…

They thought about – and followed through with – making the country as attractive as possible to foreign investors and companies by creating the most comfortable business environment possible. They even created a special governmental agency for this purpose – IDA Ireland, made up of an army of enthusiastic civil servants whose sole task is to promote their country. And they’ve done rather well so far: there are around a thousand foreign companies located here, and that includes many IT ones. Google’s here, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and many others. In fact everyone’s here! Now Facebook too – lured here by Bono (just don’t mention ‘philanthropy’ and ‘offshore tax residency’ in the same sentence:).

The keen-as-mustard Ireland promotion agency reminds me of a similar agency in Singapore, which has helped enormously the country’s strategy of industrialization and modernization to develop the economy. Btw, Ireland’s Ryanair is the second largest airline in Europe (after Lufthansa) – just another example of this country’s low-key powerhouse status. There’s more to Ireland than long-pour Guinness meets the eye.

So what was I doing in Ireland? I was here for a local IT posse get-together – this time an exhibition-conference called Web Summit: more than 600 (!) startups of varying caliber and nationality, all in a small and tightly packed exhibition center. The startups show themselves off and get acquainted with neighbors and investors, while big companies have a gander at all the fresh innovative ideas. All good, exciting, interesting, worthwhile and proper!

Web Summit 2013

Read more: more silicon island…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Breathe the pressure!

Prevention is better than cure. And that goes for fighting patent trolls too.

With this old adage in mind we recently filed a lawsuit against Device Security LLC seeking invalidation and non-infringement of the patent covering the tech involved in protecting data on mobile devices. This marks a distinct change of tactics on our behalf: Though we’ve been warring with patent parasites for eight years already, this is the first time we’ve gone for a preventative attack.

Kaspersky Lab vs Device Security LLC

Read on: So why have we done this, and why?…

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

“To live is to war with trolls”*

The euphoria after our recent single-handed victory over a patent troll has died down – a little. It was real nice to read lots of different accounts of the good news (like this, this, this, this and this) and multiple encouraging  comments from users. However, the real struggle has only just begun – ahead lies a lot of hard work and hassle, albeit interesting hassle. So now’s probably a good time to sum up everything.

comment1

comment2

comment4Source

Read on: The first and main thing – never let your guard down…

The patent trolls can be defeated – just never give up!

Hurray! Drum roll… cymbal crash + orchestral hit! We’ve beaten yet another US patent troll! The enemy is defeated, demoralized, and on the run! Churchill was right: “Never give up!” We’ve followed his advice in our fight against a particular troll. As a result the troll gave up and ran away with nothing and its tail between its legs.

“Shock, happiness, joy and adrenaline – all in one”

– That’s how N.K. (our Chief Intellectual Property Counsel) described this victory. For this time the troll was of a higher caliber and its ‘connections’ were way more heavyweight.

lodsys

Shock, happiness, joy and adrenaline all in one – I couldn’t agree more. Our 18-month court case with Lodsys (one of the ‘tentacles’ of the world’s largest and most notorious of patent trolls – Intellectual Ventures (“IV”)) was brought to a sudden halt by a full and unconditional capitulation by this abominable patent parasite. As per the norm, we won once again alone, with another 54 defendant companies deciding to settle with the extortionist, while others shamefully fled the battlefield altogether. In all the patent troll has shaken down more than 400 IT companies!

Now for the details…

More: Once upon a time there was an inventor, who invented feedback…

Revenge can be sweet, especially against patent trolls.

Payback can be slow – painfully slow – in coming, but thankfully, at last, it does seem to be showing signs of finally arriving and hitting some most unsavory types – patent trolls – squarely in the nether regions.

I’ve already waxed lyrical here about trolls and what needs to be done to up the fight in tackling this scourge.

Here, let me give you a quick review of what needs to be done:

  • Patent use to be limited – a ban on claims for a term preceding their acquisition;
  • Mandatory compensation of a defendant’s expenses if a lawsuit against it is either defeated in court or withdrawn;
  • A ban on patent aggregators bringing lawsuits;
  • An increase in the required detail and accuracy of patent descriptions, and mandatory technical expert examinations;
  • The main thing: not for ideas to be patented, but their concrete practical application.

Sometimes it seems like US legislators read my blog! Finally, something is getting done – and not just anywhere, but in the state of Vermont, where the first anti-troll law has come into effect!

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this law, but what I like most in it is that now a defendant company can demand from a patent troll reimbursement of all its legal costs if it manages to prove that the troll acted not in good faith.

More: Special thanks for the law go to … a patent troll!

Patents against innovation – cont’d.

“Patents against innovation”. Sounds as paradoxical as “bees against honey”, “hamburger patties against buns”, “students against sex” or “rock ‘n’ roll against drugs”.

Patents against innovation? How can that be possible? Patents exist to protect inventors’ rights, to provide a return on R&D investment, and generally to stimulate technological progress. Well, maybe it’s like that for some things, but in today’s software world – no way.

Today’s patent law regarding software is…well, it’s a bit like one of those circus mirrors where reality is distorted. Patent law is now just so far removed from common sense that it’s patently absurd; the whole system right down to its roots needs to be overhauled. ASAP! Otherwise innovative patents meant to encourage and protect will simply fail to materialize. (Good job, patent system. Stellar work.)

So how did everything end up so messed up?

Well, despite the virtuous original intention of patents to protect inventors – today they’ve mainly turned into nothing more than an extortion tool, whose objective is just the opposite of protecting innovation. The contemporary patent business is a technological racket – a cross-breed between… a thieving magpie and a kleptomaniac monkey – with a malicious instinct to drag anything of value back to its lair.

Growth in the number of patent lawsuits with the participation of trolls

trollcase

 Source: PatentFreedom

Now for some detail. Let’s have a closer look at the patent business.

More: aggregators, trolls and pools …