Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Innovation and an Apology - Feasibly Fixing the Patent System

Sorry I've been out the past couple weeks - real life has been a bit... hectic. I'm working on rebalancing my obligations, so while I might not post quite so frequently anymore (hey, I'm only one person), I should maintain more regular activity here and with my twitter account.
This was a comment I wrote on Techdirt on the unidirectional patent system. The idea has been fermenting and fomenting for quite some time, and it may be a feasible method of appealing to the base economic instincts of the organization in order to modernize and fix a number of issues with the patent process.
A way to help balance the USPTO while *ahem* preserving it's business model: create an adversarial patent system:
At present, individuals pay to file and refile and, once granted, hold the patent until it is challenged in court. Since, as has been pointed out several times before, their operating budget is predominantly (if not entirely) derived from their filing fees, the economic incentive is to encourage people to FILE AS MANY TIMES AS POSSIBLE - they make it difficult by rejecting patents, but only artificially so, as you can simply refile a modified patent with a new fee for reconsideration. After a rejection or two, they are likely to approve, since they don't want to DISCOURAGE you from filing at all - that would take away a revenue stream!

What if they instituted the ability to file a counter "anti-patent" displaying prior art and obviousness? Such an system would essentially "crowd source" the entire patent approval process and shift the balance of their incentives. By allowing individuals to submit prior art and obviousness research for a small fee, they can streamline and speedup the entire patent review process (for both new and old patents), lower fees for filing while increasing their revenue, decrease their operating costs (thereby maximizing profits), AND present themselves as "open source, modern government" with maximum transparency!
With this new system, to maximize profit, they must ensure as ROBUST AND PUBLIC DEBATE AS POSSIBLE.
If people can present counter evidence to a patent, then the patent will be reject/'on-hold' by the "reviewer" until the patent seeker files their counter argument against said claim. If they can't, they've lost their bogus patent and no one is worse off (though they may be free to refile, and the process begins again, but with precident from the counter-patent filers...)
"But wait!" (I hear you cry) "If they essentially crowdsource patent applications for us to do THEIR work, why do we need USPTO in the first place?!?"

Patience, Grasshoper. For now, they still are needed to be arbiters of the evidence provided. But one day... One day...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Open Letter to Lamar Smith

Texas prides itself on the independence of its citizens. You should be ASHAMED that you are taking away civil liberties from people and handing them to private lobbyists that have you on their payroll. My right to privacy us no less sacred than my right to own a gun, so why are you pioneering unconstitutional government surveillance? I am sickened by the violations you made to your oath to protect the rights of US citizens. I will do everything in my power to encourage everyone I know to vote for sheriff Mack. Maybe he'll understand that he was elected BY the PEOPLE, and FOR the PEOPLE, not some wealthy Californian businesses trying to control the internet for their financial gain.

This country ALREADY had laws to deal with cyber crime and child pornography. The FBI and other agencies should be doing this as part of their JOB, not wasting government resources to help faceless corporations sue private citizens. Your sponsorship of both SOPA and HR.1981 have demonstrated that you don't care about the constitution OR the good of the people. I look forward to the day where I can say I helped get you voted out of office.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Response from Sarbanes on TPP Protest

Below is the email I got from Congressman Sarbanes as a response to my objections on the heinous TPP, the next vehicle for MAFIAA IP protectionism.
Based on his response, I probably won't be voting for him next election. Analysis to follow...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On the 'Moral Right' to Profit

This was written in response to Kevin Drum for an article in which he posited that " creators have a moral right to profit from their works."
And "I'd hate to live in a world in which authors found it nearly impossible to make money from their works."
Yes. Really a quote.
No. I will NOT justify his idiocy by linking his dogmatic rant.
Thanks to Mike Masnick and for the to to the article, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tax Code Revolution!

Taxes are tricky, messy, bastardized things. Their inherently mongreloid nature leaves them more misshapen than a Boris Karloff monster and more random than a platypus. So what happens when you start throwing different ideas around? My uncle pitched me his ideas for tax reform and asked for my opinion. We had the following exchange that I invite everyone to join in on.

(note: since my internet is down at the moment, copy pasta will have to do for now. I'll edit later for clarity, grammar, etc.)

(note the 2nd: though I am an analyst, I don't work with tax policy directly. Feel free to point out any errors, alternative theories, etc.)

Hi Isaac,
Listening to today's news, I realized that I have long been formulating my own ideas about taxes--so I decided to write them down. You're the economist in the family, so I'm sending you my tax plan. Are the attached ideas crazy?
Uncle Steve

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Great Experiment: Marketing for a Small Organization

I've been hard at work with our newest "experiment" for my non-profit. Below is a discussion on marketing strategy applicable to any small organization looking to get its voice heard in the larger community. In it, I've outlined a number of different tactics necessary to garner the two important aspects of a successful company: Word of Mouth advertising and Good Will.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Atheism and Agnosticism

Just read an interesting article by a favorite webcomic author of mine. In it, he deplores the false dichotomies of Gnosticism/Agnosticism and Theism/Atheism, the former concerning the "knowability" of the existence of a god, and the latter concerning whether god exists.
As Zack posits, the former question must be resolved before one can even move to the latter, and "If you believe knowledge of the “God question” is impossible, it doesn’t make sense to either join a church or an atheist society."
Just to point out - game theory has been used philosophically in the past to argue that even in the case of uncertainty, belief in god is a good bet to take.

Giving Away Scarcity: Free Tickets Aren't Cheap

I am presently engaged in a little experiment with a theatre company I help manage.
The nature of this group is such that our screwy demographic has a hard time finding us: to whit, many of the major social organizations that people participate in have actively rebuffed our attempts at advertising based on secondary considerations.

We exist entirely on a shoestring budget from year to year based on what little we gain from our performances and what we can scrape together as donations among the board members. With our ties to certain major organizations in the community, we are forbidden to directly fund raise to the public, though we may accept donations (and as we have just learned, money for advertising). As a result, we have little in the way of actual advertising within our community. As Marketing Director, I am doing my damnedest to change that, but with finances as a major issue, it's an uphill battle.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Laissez-Faire: Economics vs. Politics

Whew! Time to dust off my blog... Sorry. Life's been... life.

Tried to slide this one post in before the SOPA Blackout on the 18th...but I guess I failed. Whoops.
This is an important issue that's been percolating in my mind for some time now, and this will (in all likelihood) be an incomplete treatment of the subject.