Research and Development - R&D. Inventing cool new stuff. That's my talent. It's what I'm supposed to be doing.
Instead, here I am running for Prez.
Think of the government as an old car. You need to get somewhere, but it's broken down in the shop. You're going
nowhere till it's fixed. You aren't a mechanic, but you know whats wrong and the 'professionals' are really just
idiots who are making it worse AND flushing your time down the toilet. Eventually, you realize that you are
going to have to take it away from them, get your hands dirty and fix it yourself.
I never had any interest in politics. I just wanted to be an inventor. But I've never been able to make much money
at it. You could make a case that I don't have any sales, marketing or business skills, so it's my fault, but I
believe the basic problem is that there is no real system in place to enable inventors to prosper in this country.
Whereas there are robust and well organised systems to find and nurture sports talent, young inventors are usually
on their own beyond any help they might get from relatives and close freinds.
Can you imagine the young Micheal Jordan being lost amongst the millions of others his age, eventually falling into
a career as an income tax preparer at H&R Block, lucky to pay off his student loans by 35, his amazing talent worth
only bragging rights and cheap trophies from a local basketball club?
Nobody expects talented young basketball players to also be business geniuses and build their careers from scratch,
but that's pretty much the deal for kids with a talent for creating new stuff. There is no NBA for inventors. The
best they can hope for usually is to work their way thru as much college as they can afford and get a job in the
R&D department of a big company. Then, if they are particularly brilliant, they could slowly rise thru the ranks
while earning a salary that, altho quite good by normal standards, is nothing compared to what the company
makes off their inventions.
America is easily the most inventive country on Earth, but from an absolute perspective, it is a dismal failure
at fostering creativity. It is the best only because all the others are even worse.
I spent about 8 years hobbling along on the SRVO project, working on a shoestring budget. It is a low cost
linear motion device. Couldn't get anybody with money interested, even tho it had the potential for billions
of $$$. Everybody was putting their money in real estate back then. And you know how that turned out.
Instead of helping inventors, the USPTO serves more as an intimidating giant obstacle to scare away people
who have an idea, but no money or time to go thru the patent process. And those who do proceed find that it's
a murky maze full of booby traps and predators. If they do finally succeed in getting a patent, they are likely
to discover the hard way that it only grants them the right to spend years in court trying to gain restitution
from someone who violated the patent. If it's a big company, good luck! Their lawyers can keep it in court till
the inventor runs out of money or dies of old age. Patent 'protection' is worth about as much as the paper
its printed on against a bullet.
The practical function of the patent system is to provide a comfortable specialty career for lazy lawyers and a
fortified barrier to competition for large corporations. And a side effect of it's shabby condition is a flourishing
cottage industry full of con men who have set up bogus invention development & marketing companies.
You've probably seen commercials for InventHelp or whatever they call themselves these days. You know - the one
with the cartoon cavemen and his stone wheel. They've changed the name at least twice that I know of, but love
that cartoon too much to give it up. I suppose they file for bankruptcy when the number of lawsuits from dissatisfied
'customers' pile up too high, then open up shop under a new name. They're the biggest now, and there are probably
hundreds of smaller operations across the country just as crooked as them.
This has been going on forever so obviously the USPTO and the government in general do not care enuff to shut
them down. When I was a teenager it was The Raymond Lee Organization running commercials like a deep
sea trawling net to drag in hopeful inventors. I forget what my invention was, but a week after recieving my free
introductory package from them, there they were on 60 Minutes, running away from Morley Safer and his
camera man! Lucky for me that I never gave them any money.
Sure, people do succeed sometimes. I'm not saying it's impossible to make a living, or maybe even get rich as
an inventor. I'm saying the system is not helping inventors or the greater good of the country; that it is a
hinderance to technological progress. Whatever the PTO's charter states, a visit to one of the palatial law
offices specializing in corporate patent work contrasted with the miilions of inventors who have worked for years
only to end up with nothing for their efforts will verify my opinion.
Spend 5 years developing an invention, run up a staggering debt, then because you don't have the money to take the
next step, some rich guy gets to chomp off a 30% chunk for 250,000$ IF he feels like it. Usually, his main concern
is that he could be less rich if it fails and his next is if it can make him even richer. In other words, money
is the boss, the investor only has to listen to the boss.
What's wrong with that?
First off, who wants to be treated like a chump? Or, more appropriate to the subtitle, treated like shark chow!
I am a good example of someone who does not.
Then, it leaves the decision to develop ideas to a relatively tiny group of individuals who may or may not be
able to understand the potential of things beyond their limited experience. Like a seed drifting in the breeze,
it is pure luck if an inventor happens to link up with THE investor who will understand the greatest potential and
is willing to put the money into it that it needs to get there. If the idea does not find fertile ground here,
eventually it will find it elsewhere, like China or Russia.
What I am proposing is an unprecedented level of support for inventors of every kind. Everybody from the
ordinary citizen who gets only 1 idea in his or her entire life to the natural born creative genius cranking
out hundreds of inventions per year. A system that causes good ideas to float to the top, no matter how
odd the idea, or how little money, time and energy someone has. Ideas are GOLD! Lets treat them like it!
To accomplish this, patents will be ENFORCED by the USPTO! It would become a full fledged law enforcement
agency like the DEA, ATF, FBI etc. It will also have the power to loan or grant money to inventors who need help
and connect inventors to licenced R&D firms and manufacturers who are in businesses related to the invention.
Inventors will be paid standardized royalties for 50 years based on how original the invention is, how much work
they put into it, how much money time and work they put into getting it on the market. When more people are
involved, they will all get a piece of the action based on the same parameters. There will be no more assigning
of all rights to employers. Sure, companies will get their fair share and profit from the actual products sold,
but the days of Nikola Tesla level inventive geniuses being locked away in labs for their entire career and
then discarded with little more than a gold watch and a handshake after taking a company from a garage
to an international megacorp will be over.
Today, if you find a piece of jewelry in the gutter, you can stroll over to the nearest pawn shop and walk out
with some serious cash in your pocket. With the newly empowered USPTO on the job, those sudden inspirations
that pop into your head can worth far more than mere precious metal trinkets.
People will be trying to think up stuff all the time!
Even tho America should do its best to co-operate with the other nations of the world, we are still competing with
them, especially those that are not particularly friendly toward us. And technology is the ultimate battle field.
Just as a basketball team does well when it recruits the best players, America will do well when it has a serious
system to encourage creativity and support all its inventors.
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