Re: [OVC-discuss] An attempt to sneak Internet voting in via theback door?

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jun 22 2009 - 11:24:32 CDT

> Arthur, you are absolutely right. Unfortunately the big companies that are
> always short of ideas but they have huge resources. They make us ( small
> fishes) a morsel, if there is no protection .
> Cascella

Cascella, read this recent article by Nolan Bushnell:

Note in particular where he says,

     Few if any ideas are brand new and ideas, by themselves, are
     crap. It is impossible to own any idea and patents are, in most
     fast-moving businesses, a waste of time.

May 13, 2009
The Secret to Patents
Posted at 12:03 PM

When starting a company, many entrepreneurs believe that their ideas are of
massive value and they become paranoid that someone is going to steal them.
So they spend precious time filing patent applications and hire expensive
lawyers to craft non-disclosure agreements to protect their intellectual
property. They are crazy.

It is easy and expensive to be granted a worthless patent. The Patent Office
does a vanishingly superficial job of looking at the validity of a patent,
and the only patent with even the slightest potential of being worthwhile
has to be litigated. And that rarely occurs except in the drug industry. I
know of no business that has made its mark because of patents.

Think of it like this. A patent is like a giant canon: You can point it at
someone but, assuming your business is small, the company in your crosshairs
will look at you and look at your giant canon and they will almost
immediately make the calculation that you are bluffing. Your canon is not
frightening because your competitor knows that, to fire it, you must spend
$500,000. That's the cost of a typical patent lawsuit. Perhaps if your
company gets massively successful you can play that game but, even then, few

If you don't have the $500,000 in extra cash you may as well not have a
patent. And if you still think your patents are worthwhile just try to get a
lawyer to take a patent-enforcement case on contingency. The attorneys know
the odds.

I speak from experience. I held the patent for virtually all the video games
that were produced from 1970 through 1978 when the microprocessor updated my
patents. We chose not to litigate against anyone who copied us and put our
money into our business. We dominated the market and never regretted the
distraction of lawsuits and litigation over patents.

Few if any ideas are brand new and ideas, by themselves, are crap. It is
impossible to own any idea and patents are, in most fast-moving businesses,
a waste of time. Creativity can be learned. It can also be shut off. Spend
you money of marketing or on production or on other things that maximize
market share.


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Received on Tue Jun 30 23:17:06 2009

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