* Startup Clients, Billionaire Astronuts, And Why The Money Is In The (Patent) Method

LawLawLaw #51 – Technology, Law, Baseball, Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Client Stuff

Thirty-seven (37) clients have hired Clocktower and then gone on to be acquired (more than half by public companies). Zero (0) clients have fired Clocktower and then gone on to be acquired by a public company.

* Making Advertising Sustainable: Introducing Scope3 (2022-01-16)

* Beamable Raises $5M For Live Operations Platform For Game Devs (2021-11-02)

* ToneStone Is A Music Production App From The People Behind Guitar Hero And Left 4 Dead (2021-08-12)
“They want making music to be an easy, social experience.”

* Company [Form Energy] Says Its Multi-Day Storage Batteries For Renewable Energy Are the Holy Grail We’ve Been Waiting For (2021-07-28)

* Startup [Form Energy] Claims Breakthrough In Long-Duration Batteries (2021-07-22)
“Form Energy’s iron-air batteries could have big ramifications for storing electricity on the power grid.”

Technology Stuff

I remember asking an MIT friend (Art) if he thought that nuclear fission technology was good or evil. He replied, more than a little bit philosophically, that technology is neither good nor evil, technology merely is. He could have also answered with “mu” to un-ask the question. In any event, I continue to believe that it’s important that we think about the implications – good or evil – of any technology.

For example, some technology solves one problem but creates another:

* The Inventor of the Screw-In Coffin (2022-03-03)

* Company Turns Your Loved One’s Ashes Into Elegant Stones (2021-08-18)

* 41 Questions We Should Ask Ourselves About The Technology We Use (2021-08-13)

When the future of Planet Earth is written (assuming that there we will be sentient beings around to write it), what will the authors think about billionaire space toys?

* Virgin Galactic Space Flight Tickets To Start At $450,000 (2021-08-06)

* The Future Of Space Is Bigger Than Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Or Elon Musk (2021-07-16)
“The orbital economy goes way beyond the dreams of billionaire spacemen.”

* Virgin Galactic Took Richard Branson To Space, Paying Customers Are Next (2021-07-12)

* Virgin Galactic: Sir Richard Branson Rockets To The Edge Of Space (2021-07-11)

Law Stuff

Design patents continue to be a good bang for the buck:

* Federal Circuit Further Eases Path For Obtaining Design Patents (2021-10-06)

This could also be a separate blog post. Judges and lawmakers are often freaked out about software patents, and I think I know why. If you are Gillette, and you have a patent on the disposable razor, you probably have several flavors of claims. One set of patent claims is directed at the razor itself: the plastic handle, plastic head, and the two (or more) blades embedded in the plastic head. But who infringes the patent on the razor? Gillette’s customers. Another set of patent claims is directed at the method of making the razor: embedding two (or more) blades in the plastic head, attaching the plastic head to the plastic handle. Who infringes the patent on making the razor? Gillette’s competitors: the Schicks and Bics of the world. So even when the subject matter of the patent is a tangible thing (razor), the value of the patent is in the intangible method of making the tangible thing. And the reason judges and lawmakers get freaked out about software patents is because there is no corresponding tangible thing. So this chart about the increase of method claims is entirely logical. Because the money is in the method:

* Use Of Method Claims (2021-09-14)

I agree with Mike Masnick that the purpose of patent law includes providing incentives for inventors to invent. You can return to 1474 Venice for more insights.

* US Judge Gets It Right: AI Doesn’t Get Patents (2021-09-10)

I thought that I would write a separate blog piece about the following article, but instead I’ll briefly critique the opening sentence, quoted below. Open source software has nothing to do with price and everything to do with choices. Open source software is not “free to access, use, and change without restrictions.” Instead, open source is a different way to think about software distribution, use, and (sometimes) compensation.

* Five Ways That Open Source Software Shapes AI Policy (2021-08-18)
“Open-source software (OSS), which is free to access, use, and change without restrictions, plays a central role in the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).”

Baseball Stuff

The greedy MLB owners have locked out the players, and so we have no baseball. But I wrote this:

* 2021 Red Sox Season Recap + 2022 MLB Season Lockout (2022-02-23)
The 2022 MLB season has been delayed due to the lockout. I had not written my 2021 Red Sox season recap. One of these things I can control.

Music Stuff

* Jonny Greenwood Pretended To Play The Keyboard When He First Joined Radiohead (2022-02-16)

Many musicians are selling the rights to their music. I think that this is a good idea. The rights will be sold eventually. Better to do it when the artist is alive than to leave it to heirs.

* Bob Dylan Sells His Master Recordings To Sony Music (2022-01-24)

My own band is now in its 18th year, and we definitely goof off a lot. I watched the full “Get Back” Beatles documentary and loved it, especially the goofing off parts:

* Get Back: Creativity Lessons From The Beatles (2021-12-17)

FWIW, I listen to music the majority of the time that I am awake:

* Deeply Empathetic People Process Music Differently In Their Brains (2021-08-12)

Other Stuff

I’m a big fan of nonfiction adventure books and have read extensively about Ernest Shackleton’s journey to the Antarctic on the eve of World War I (which is perhaps why more people don’t know the story). In any event, this is huge news:

* Endurance: Shackleton’s Lost Ship Is Found In Antarctic (2022-03-09)
“One of the greatest ever [previously] undiscovered shipwrecks.”

* Ernest Shackleton’s Ship Found After 106 Years (2022-03-09)

R.I.P. Norm MacDonald (1959 – 2021-09-14), comic genius. Your moth joke is the funniest joke of all time:

* Norm MacDonald Is A Comic Genius

* Norm MacDonald – Moth Joke

* Comedian Norm Macdonald Dies At 61 From Cancer

* RIP Norm Macdonald (1959-2021)

Friends and family know that I like complex problems – and complex solutions to said complex problems. I’m good at thinking, and perhaps even over-thinking. Which is why I liked this:

* The Power Of Overthinking (2021-07-22)

In digital design classes at MIT in the 1980s, friends and I joked about a new “XAND” gate, whose logic rules were: one AND the other BUT NOT both. Which is why I liked this:

* Logic Gates (2021-07-10)


Since 2001, LawLawLawTM has documented trends in technology, law (mostly patents and trademarks), baseball (mostly Red Sox), and music (mostly rock). Click here to subscribe to LawLawLaw.

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2 Replies to “* Startup Clients, Billionaire Astronuts, And Why The Money Is In The (Patent) Method”

  1. Great stuff!!! I particularly like the point around whether technology is used for good or evil, and to the philosophical ends with which that is the responsibility of the user, not the tech. Though I could argue creating possibilities for good or evil are to be merited towards the creator for the technology – in such case, one should design toward good use and away from evil use, albeit the cost… well, hopefully the consequences either way reflect well on the creator and society at large.

    Thank you Erik!

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