[FoRK] technology as a life form

Greg Bolcer greg at bolcer.org
Mon Nov 2 11:40:55 PST 2015

There's a similar situation in early stage fundraising.  There's no downside in disclosing too much.  

Sent from my iPhone

> On Nov 2, 2015, at 11:32 AM, Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> There's certainly an economic incentive to walking the fine line
> between explaining enough to get a patent and explaining enough that
> "one skilled in the art" can reproduce the patented technology.  This
> was a significant, explicit part of how we wrote patents at GE, for
> example.
> Not to mention that even with best intentions industrial practice
> invariably has all sorts of details that are hard to define and
> communicate.  We used to have a rule of thumb that you couldn't
> transfer technologies, only people, and my personal experience has
> certainly confirmed this -- like when we had to bring back a retiree
> to fine-tune a tungsten filament production process.  Competence only
> got us so far; genuine expertise required years (decades, actually) of
> experience.
> Ken
>> On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 10:41 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer <greg at bolcer.org> wrote:
>> Or gawd forbid--the patent examiner doesn't get it.
>>> On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 10:39 AM, J. Andrew Rogers <andrew at jarbox.org> wrote:
>>> This is characteristic of many patents that are legitimately non-obvious.
>>> A description of an implementation understandable by a person of ordinary
>>> skill does not imply that the *why* of an implementation is obvious to a
>>> person of ordinary or even extraordinary skill. You definitely see this
>>> with some algorithm patents.
>>> The advantage this gives companies is that you can arbitrage the
>>> difference between “why” and “how”, which is valuable due to the limited
>>> enforceability of many patents in practice. There are interesting cases
>>> where a patent describes a process that is substantially superior to any
>>> existing art, encouraging people to adopt it, but reductions to practice by
>>> someone that knows “why” are qualitatively superior to someone that only
>>> knows “how”. The ability to construct a patent this way is actually
>>> reflects the quality of the invention.
>>> In effect, it gives you a patent and a trade secret for the same invention.
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