Supreme Court on patents: Thank heavens they got one right.
The Supreme Court’s recent patent decision was really good news and nobody is covering it.
This week, the Supreme Court ruled that lower courts had awarded too much power to patent holders. And they limited the reach of intellectual property in some cases. This story has been painted as a disaster for business and technological development. Honestly, could there be anything more ridiculous?
Loosening the intellectual property rules is not only not bad for tech, it is probably the smartest thing that can be done for the sector. As professional thinkers, we can assure you that we go on thinking whether someone is paying us or not. So opening the terrain of what we can think about without some knucklehead showing up expecting to get paid is the best thing for us. It makes it easier to develop an idea since we can just run with it and not worry whether we’re stepping in an ancient patent.
Anybody who has anything to do with technological development knows that advancement rarely hinges on whether something can be done. It’s more often a question of whether anyone has bothered to try it yet. And the profits in technology come from making those ideas work for somebody, not just having the ideas. Technology, at the end of the day, is about service — focusing the ways of the universe down so one single person can take advantage of them. Allowing strict control over ideas only hurts that development.
Our courts usually get nothing but contempt from us. Could there be anything more dumb than the way our judicial system thinks about Napster, or Kazaa, or Grokster? But here the court got it right.
Within reason, less intellecutal property control is better.
News Corp’s bid for the Wall Street Journal: The greatest capitalist story ever told.
What happens when free market economics comes to the champion of free market economics? It certainly won’t be pretty and it is certainly a huge story.
Somebody in this little media world of ours owes it to all of us to do the full case study of just what might happen to the Wall Street Journal once unfettered, pure economic freedom comes to the newspaper. News Corp., as everyone knows by now, has made a ridiculous billion bid to buy Dow Jones, which almost certainly will be accepted.
If it is, News Corp. will have spent an incredible amount of money. And in order to make some of that money back, they’re going to have to cut costs somewhere. Labor cost is always a favorite place to save money. That puts the staff at the Wall Street Journal in an interesting position: For three decades the company has championed the tough economic love of labor flexibility, commoditized human resources and personal freedom that allows the few to replace the efforts of the many with technology without sharing the rewards.
The story here is finding out what happens when those who have espoused that kind of freedom actually face the consequences.
Obviously, there will be winners in the New Corp./Dow Jones deal. Rupert Murdoch is a terrific innovator. And as we have said before, there is much room for innovation in newspapers. But we wonder how well the people who built the Wall Street Journal will adapt to their newfound freedom.
Cool stuff worth tracking.
New phones from Nokia.
The RFID carwash. Finally something useful with this technology.
Alaska village falls into the sea.
The 100 year old electric comedian. Oh, sorry, electric car!
Launch 2007 will be at the Microsoft Campus this year. Hummmm.
Digital picture frame with an IP address. It can get and receive e-mails.
And finally … a fly on drugs.
Did the fly inhale? You be the judge.