25 February 2006

If I wanted to be really rich…

Ok, let me rephrase, if I was 18, and my number one priority was to be very wealthy, no matter what, what would I do? Well, if I was really smart and had better math acumen, I would work to become a hedge fund manager. The more curious route, and the subject of today rant is as follows:

Step one – get an undergrad degree in a tech field, computer science, engineering, bio-whatever.

Step two – get a law degree, nearly any school will do.

Step three – get a job in a litigation firm, learn all I could and save every penny. Write down every single idea for a technology product and certify mail it to myself. You can probably see where this is headed.

Step four – this is where it gets interesting. Leave my steady job and set p shop. Search VC forums, tech blogs and go to CES every year. File law suits against every small company that offers a product even close to one of my earlier documented brain farts. In no time I would have amasses a nice fortune and my family, my family’s family and so on would likely never need to worry about money.

Of course, that would require that I be void of scruples, morals and ethical values (yes, I do understand the difference amongst these).

Patent and trademark law, and specifically the litigation of these MUST be overhauled in the US. I believe that it is an issue of such gravity that the current system is creating enormous economic drag for the country.

To defend a patent infringement suit my friends (who know more of this than I) tell me 2.5 mill will just get you to the table. It just goes up from there. If you are small company with innovative products coming to market, should this really be ‘just an expected cost of business?”

These 7-year college trained parasites are killing innovation advancement in America and having a huge impact on the products, services we can and will offer the rest of the world. Should innovation be the strict domain of the conglomo’s?

Entrepreneurship is responsible for the marginal growth in jobs, earnings and quality of life that we have enjoyed over the last 50 years. Not big business, not big government, but small highly motivated start-ups like Ewing Kauffman.

As I write this friends of mine are having to nearly shut down viable businesses as a result of illegitimate patent litigation that they clearly cannot afford to defend in a US court. But that is just a small portion of my concern. Relatives, Angels, and Venture Funds all, are aware of the risk. How quickly can we unload a new tech company to someone with the resources to defend their innovation? Is that really how we want to do and build business for the future?

I wish I had an answer here… but at least I have a call to arms. I know plenty of honest hard working attorneys, but will they be the ones to overhaul the system? Do we dare trust this to the politicians? Help me - tell me - who will be the white knight in this situation?