Touching upon econ, life, hedonism and personal growth.

8th October 2011

Post with 88 notes

The 99%- What’s your solution?

It happened last night, after spending a few hours among the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  We were seeing signs for everything from free Palestine, to health care for all, to end the Fed, and we looked at each other and said, in some crazy way we are a part of this too.  The 99% are made up of everyone that isn’t the status quo, and our economic growth agenda is many times squashed by those with more lobbying resources than we have.  We knew our original stance was misguided, and minutes before shooting our Kickstarter video, we scrapped the whole thing and we worked through at the last minute what our feelings were of the event, and formulated a more honed vision for this ride. 

At one point during the demonstration, I saw a sign quoting Thomas Jefferson, which spoke of the potential evils of a Central Bank. This led my thoughts to another Jefferson quote about an obscure topic to most of the US population; US patent law.

I am an aspiring internet entrepreneur, and my colleagues and I decided we need to connect to something that we feel can help unlock the potential of our economy.  One of my colleagues, Cristian Valbuena, who is my business advisor, CPA and confident, started probing me with questions, asking me ‘what is the business objective of this ride?’  I always appreciate a corporate counter viewpoint to my entrepreneurial edginess.  His brother Mario helped us iron down the details of the ride, what route to take, and created a logo that portrayed our vision for the ride. 

Unlocking innovation is integral to fixing our broken economic system, and there are vested interests that impede this in the tech community.  The US software patent laws are extremely unfair. Unlike the production of a tangible goods, patents are taken out on what software could hypothetically do, before it is even technologically feasible.   Fred Wilson, a far smarter man than myself explains the Lodsys problem in a post on his blog back in July:

Enough Is Enough

I believe that software patents should not exist. They are a tax on innovation. And software is closer to media than it is to hardware. Patenting software is like patenting music.
The mess around the Lodsys patents should be a wake up call to everyone involved in the patent business (government bureaucrats, legislators, lawyers, investors, entrepreneurs, etc) that the system is totally broken and we can’t continue to go on like this.
First of all, the idea of a transaction in an application isn’t novel. That idea has been resident in software for many years. The fact that the PTO issued a patent on the idea of “in app transactions” is ridiculous and an embarrassment.
Second, Lodsys didn’t even “invent” the idea. They purchased the patent and are now using it like a cluster bomb on the entire mobile app developer community. They are the iconic patent troll, taxing innovation and innovators for their own selfish gain. They are evil and deserve all the ill will they are getting.
Third Apple and Google, the developers of the iOS and Android app ecosystems (and in app transaction systems), did license the Lodsys patents but that is not good enough for Lodsys. They are now going after mobile developers who use the iOS and Android systems. The whole point of these app ecosystems is that a “developer in a garage” can get into business with these platforms. But these “developers in a garage” can’t afford lawyers to represent themselves in a fight with a patent troll.
The whole thing is nuts. I can’t understand why our government allows this shit to go on. It’s wrong and its bad for society to have this cancer growing inside our economy. Every time I get a meeting with a legislator or government employee working in and around the innovation sector, I bring up the patent system and in particular software patents. We need to change the laws. We need to eliminate software patents. This ridiculous Lodsys situation is the perfect example of why. We need to say “enough is enough.”

Cycling 4 Innovation is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street.  The Occupy Wall Street community has identified many problems; it is now time for this grassroots collection of people to come up with solutions to these problems.  Our suggested solution to the US software patent law inefficiencies is to use the framework created by the Creative Commons community.  The Creative Commons’ vision “is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.”  They have created solutions that our lawmakers need to recognize., and that is why we ride.

What’s your solution?

Tagged: SolutionCreative CommonsPatent CommonsUS Software Patent LawFred Wilson

  1. cyclingwino posted this