Although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is, in some respects, one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked... in which I have spoken of so many important things done by Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply, To the superiority of their women.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Example of Multinational Corporate Evil

You may have heard of Andre Geim, he won the Nobel Prize in physics for developing graphene, which is a form of carbon specially structured for nanotech applications. When asked why he never patented graphene, he told Nature News how it is:

We considered patenting; we prepared a patent and it was nearly filed. Then I had an interaction with a big, multinational electronics company. I approached a guy at a conference and said, "We've got this patent coming up, would you be interested in sponsoring it over the years?" It's quite expensive to keep a patent alive for 20 years. The guy told me, "We are looking at graphene, and it might have a future in the long term. If after ten years we find it's really as good as it promises, we will put a hundred patent lawyers on it to write a hundred patents a day, and you will spend the rest of your life, and the gross domestic product of your little island, suing us." That's a direct quote.

I considered this arrogant comment, and I realized how useful it was. There was no point in patenting graphene at that stage. You need to be specific: you need to have a specific application and an industrial partner. Unfortunately, in many countries, including this one, people think that applying for a patent is an achievement. In my case it would have been a waste of taxpayers' money.

It's so great we live a a free-market economy where inventors can enjoy the fruits of their labor. I mean, it's so great that we reward achievement in this country. You only need a really wealthy corporate patron to get ahead. However, note that they will never let you get too uppity. They will farm your mind, but they intend to reap the profits. They will not allow you to get big enough to compete with them, as I intend to prove in upcoming posts.

1 comment:

  1. Which is where the value of partnering up with a patent "troll" ... someone with deep pockets and a special talent and penchant for litigation suing for patent infringement.

    Which is why there is a big push by some industries to "reform" patent law in ways that disadvantage patent trolls.


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