June 27, 2004
It has been an interesting weekend.
Too much drinking for me, indeed, but feeling ok.
Friday night's conversations tended to that of jewelery making
and politics, and taxes (estate, brackets, why we need them, bla bla bla).
But last night, due to the nature of meeting people you have
multiple potential connections with (if that's not too obfuscated),
I met someone who works for (and probably started or something) a
company that I was familiar with, one that really has pissed me
(and many people like me) off in the past. This is all a very
drunken party context, but we had a conversation that dragged on,
him with his fifth of tequila and me with a small glass of scotch.
(keeping names out of this -- sir, you know who you are, and if
you wish to rebutt and let it be known who you are, I will gladly
give venue. mostly I'm just venting feelings here, so don't take
it personally. we just disagree on shit. oh, and I would also
like to apologize to my new neighbor who had to hear most of this
and was probably a buzzkill)
At the time the conversation was a little bit amusing, but in
retrospect I get pissed off thinking about certain elements. Namely:
This company I speak of is one that is very patent-centric so we had
much differences on the subject of patents. One line he used multiple
times in defending his stance (no doubt he had used it many times
before, likely with more success):
"when you go and invent something, you'll understand"
"you'll want to protect the things you invent, you won't want people to STEAL it from you".
I don't know how to write my response to this, having tried writing a
big paragraph that just made me dizzy. So here are some thoughts:
1) The patent that this company was biggest on enforcing (as far as I
could tell) was one that they didn't actually invent, they BOUGHT. So
yeah, they have to get return on investment. Fair enough.
2) I don't really consider myself to having invented anything, but I
do realize that I could have patented things that I had developed. No
doubt. SO DONT FUCKING TELL ME I'LL UNDERSTAND IF I EVER INVENT SOMETHING.
3) Maybe I'm not enough of a capitalist, or maybe I'm too much of one,
but I think that if you come up with some new idea, in this age, I think
the way to exploit it is by building it, not patenting it and preventing
other people from building it.
4) Worrying about protecting patents and having other people STEAL them
from you seems wrong. I mean, why make shit if you're just going to be
freaking out about what other people might be doing..
5) It seems to me that having an idea or technology that is unpatented
will encourage more improvement on the underlying idea/technology, as
well as competition and incentive for improvement (his response was
something to the effect of "and we have the best of breed technology",
and I'm like "best of breed because you'll sue anybody who competes?".)
If Intel had a completely valid all-encompassing patent on
the microprocessor and anything like it, that doesn't seem like it
would be healthy, nor does it seem like we'd be where we are today.
6) As someone who really enjoys writing code and making things, I feel
like it's art. Being able to sit down, make something that's completely
new to me from scratch, and infringe on a patent owned by a huge multi-
national corporation, that hoards patents as a leveraging tool for
other huge multi-national corporations, who patent as much as possible,
just sems like a really bad situation. I mean, it's been said before,
but it's fucked up. Very.
That is about all. Maybe more later.
(edit: we did manage to agree on one thing, that a certain other company
that we both had experiences with sucked).
Also: I'm finding that "A Perfect Circle - 13th Step" is a quite good album.