The US patent system may not be perfect, but this article is an excellent reminder about why we still need it.
I asked myself how this device called the “smartphone” – which didn’t even exist as a product category five years ago – could have become such an integral part of my morning routine.
The wireless-technology pioneers who invented the technologies that enable these connections were bold enough to do costly research and development in extremely risky and unproven areas, at a time when cell phones were the size of brief cases and only carried by doctors and heads of state. They were able to take those risks and do that R&D because there was a chance, albeit a small one, that they might solve problems previously considered unsolvable and then sell products or license that technology to others for a fee. Some of those successful inventors then took some of that money and reinvested it in even more R&D that produced even more advanced, licensable technologies and generated even faster connections.
So tomorrow morning, when you wake up and reach for your smartphone, think about what the smartphone would look like without the technologies encouraged and enabled by patents. I think it might look a little like this: two tin cans connected by string.
The flotsam and jetsam of a techie mind...