Saturday, February 07, 2009

Judd & Columbia

Judd, the nominee for Department of Commerce Secretary, tried to extend Columbia University's patents by attaching an amendment to an existing bill. If this is the extent of his experience with intellectual property, the USPTO & new rules could be interesting if he is confirmed. Patent reform & modified administrative rules seem to be tabled for now. . but will they be back after the economic crisis has been managed by Congress?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New internet land grab

Who will be first to register .portland under the new ICANN rules? Portland, Oregon? Portland, Maine? Michigan? Missouri? I could go on, for 13 more cities. ICANN traditional dispute procedures set up for trademark owners will not apply. . who owns the trademark to Portland?

New Mayor (elect), have you told our attorneys to act?

Corporate R&D

Ernst & Young released, in April 2008, a study on the use of the corporate R&D tax credit. They state that the credits are used primarily for these purposes: wages for company employees; supplies for research; work performed by outside organizations. Universities apparently would fall into this third category.

Analysis of tax returns seems a more fruitful endeavor than hoping for response to surveys. Much of the data in the E&Y report is from the National Science Foundation, which has a poor response rate. Corporations tend to not want to talk about their R&D expenditure -- this spending is generally to achieve some corporate advantage.

Oregon is 19th (surprisingly high) with over 1,000 firms using the credit; and 16th in terms of share of R&D. Further analysis seems warranted.

A bigger expectation gap than we once thought

Carl Weissman's article this week on the funding gap contains this passage, at the end:

If you are an academic and you cannot get someone to back your idea, do three things: take a hard look at your technology (or even ask someone else to do so); take a hard look at your expectations; and, take a hard look in the mirror. Honest assessment in these three efforts will tell you why.

If you are a VC crying crocodile tears over all of the impediments between your partnership and early-stage biotechnology investment, quit it. You make us all look like complete asses. Pull up your britches, wipe your nose, and admit it—“I am no longer a VC. I am now a private equity investor with an exceedingly small fund.” (Feelings of inadequacy to follow…time to buy a Ferrari.)

Yep. IMHO venturable ideas find venture. The rest need help, inside the university, to validate the technology, and create a market. Those that rely on the wonderful marketing reports from large analysis shops are fine, but most university technology does not yet have a market. We're doing fundamental research. We're thinking beyond tomorrow's problems, and that is a good thing. Who else is doing that? Corporate America has cut back on their own R&D. . .and then complains when universities aren't helping them create their next product.

We have an expectation gap in more than new venture funding. And read Scott Shane's new book, referenced in last week's posts.

The Velvetirium

Check out The Velveterium in Portland, OR. JP Patches, Mr. T, even religious paintings, all in velvet, in one place! Too bad they don't show the rest they have at home. (hmm) At home they have Mona Lisa in velvet. Portland is the Florence of the 21st century, they suggested on national TV this morning. How will we use this newfound fame to turn into resources, intellectual property, fame & fortune?

Monday, June 23, 2008

The truth about entrepreneurs

Scott Shane's new book The Illusion of Entrepreneurship is a list of "facts" about entrepreneurship. It's unfortunate (for me) that it is broadly focused on the activity, instead of high - tech entrepreneurship. HTE seems to be different from "run of the mill" entrepreneurship. But some of the facts may be interesting for policy makers & others. When I'm done with the book I'll post a more complete thought.

GM practicing (close to) open innovation

The Atlantic Monthly article on The Volt is a fascinating story on a new mode of innovation for GM, and I suspect for carmakers as a whole. Sure, the story is a part of GM's push to get folks to buy a $45,000+ car, but the process they are using. . and the linking of a new radical product with their established name is certainly interesting.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's all about the scale

Oregon has recently increased investments in education and research, particularly at the higher, post-secondary level, to spur job growth (among other goals). For a state our size, and in comparison to the past, the investment is not insignificant.

However, when looking at what other states are doing, we must wonder at our commitment. The recent article on the Georgia Research Alliance, showing that they have invested $436 million in public and private dollars since 1990 to grow the Georgia economy. The private investment in Oregon is likely not as substantial, but there is a number that we should tout as well.

"open" for profit

Software contributors for many open source projects are helping companies provide service to stitch all of the open source together. Most contributors do not mind this as it gives them many opportunities. . be part of a community, get recognition, practice, etc.

But folks translating content for Facebook may think differently. Facebook is asking people to translate their site for free, just to help the for-profit social networking site grow. While this is certainly a way to gain users in a country -- those translating are likely to brag that they did it! and drive traffic to the site, will there be resentment from the free labor?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How will global warming impact Microsoft?

"Windows is collapsing" Gartner analysts say. Ok, not because of global warming, but because it does not fit in the new, smaller, greener, more portable world we are all about to live in. Now, I have several laptops, a smartphone, and been around people with lots of "mini" computers. And now I've watched younger folks (4+) use computers. Will we all stop using desktops, and local memory, and go to smaller computers & web apps?

I am not convinced. I still go to too many places where net connectivity is not stellar, or is too expensive. And the citywide wireless networks . . .although greatly touted. . . do not seem to be happening as quickly as promised. (A few months ago Wired magazine had an update on these initiatives, but I could not locate it in a quick search.) So, bring on the web apps -- I hate Vista just as much as the next person. But make sure there is 100% connectivity -- even in the "un-creative" class places -- before you do. . .

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"How much" v "open acces"

The recent sale of spectrum, where AT&T admitted that they paid much more to avoid open access (aah, makes one proud to be an AT&T subscriber) leads the Silicon Valley Insider to ask how much more the US government could have gotten if they had removed the open access requirement. . would the bidding have grown even more if the spectrum remained proprietary?

Given the recent discussion on Open Innovation (see this review paper), what is the proper way to "weigh" open access v financial gain? Not a dissimilar question to how to discuss benefits from access to research v proprietary access to research.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Make yourself famous

Tired of googling yourself? Or linking to people you know on every social networking site you can imagine? Want to move to the next level? Part of intellectual property is trademark. . managing your brand. . and now you can create your own biography on Biographicon. You can even link to others you may know (or not know). Go ahead! Write your biography, just ready for the obituary pages.