If You’ve Got the Time…

…I’ve got a fascinating read for you.

…Nor did he brag about his vast accomplishments. More than 600 patents to his credit. A fortune amassed. Powerful foes toppled.
As death approached, he believed his place in history had been secured, thanks to his most spectacular inventions: machine vision and the bar code scanner, technology that has dramatically altered the way in which we live.
“He was a simple man,” said his Houston oncologist, Dr. Giora Mavligit. “A mensch.”
But to his many detractors, Lemelson was something else.
They claim Lemelson’s patents were in fact worthless. Lemelson, they say, was one of the great frauds of the 20th century.

8 Responses to “If You’ve Got the Time…”

  1. Mr. Bingley says:

    Fascinating, indeed.

  2. I waiting for Dave-Barrister-at-Large to weigh in here.

  3. John says:

    Yeah, a lot of this kind of crap happened in the biotech revolution, too. If Celera or HGSI discovers a gene, btu doesn not know what it does, which proteins it encodes or what they do, and has no ideas molecules that may inhibit / modulate the function of that gene, why does anyone owe them royalties. Use patents on chemicals are the same sort of bad news. No one should be able to patent anythign without having a working protoype or a minimal set of experiments validating the theory. Otherwise every SF writer in history is owed all kinds of money.
    Complicating this issue, it seems this guy also have some legitimate patents. But that doesn’t validate the bar code reader patent if he didn’t put a diode laser in it. The money should go to those hardworking guys who got diode lasers to work. Getting an idea to put a camera on a robot doesn’t write the software to decode the images into instructions for the robot. And without that, his patent is just a vignette in an SF novel. This is a sore issue with me because I am owed royalties on (real) patents. Any speculation we did was simply incremetnal stuff, not “this is a device for measuring BS on the Networks, and oh, by the way, with enough modifications it’ll make you a cheese sandwich, too”.

  4. (John, don’t knock the cheese sandwiches ~ they go for quite a lot these days.)
    Sue the bastards! We stand behind you, ready and willing to be your evil minions, as long as we’re talking evil millions.
    (Otherwise, good luck, John.)

  5. Cullen says:

    But can you make it understand that all you want is a cup of tea?
    This is quite a good read. It reads like an old movie-tone news clip. I can hear the fake enthusiam of the “Our boys are off to war” in my head. Well-written.

  6. I thought so too, Cullen. It’s rare you run across something like this anymore; that makes you want to go past the fourth paragraph, less mind fourth page.

  7. John says:

    Oh this isn’t a sore spot becuase I don’t think I’ll see any money: I’ve already gotten enough royalties to put a down payment on a car, and more will come if something useful ever does come out of my work (not that I’m holding my breath). No, this is a sore spot because it does for IP what ambulance-chasing lawyers do for healthcare, and I not only own IP, my current day job depends on it.

  8. Kathy K says:

    That was a fascinating read. And patent law isn’t even a vague interest of mine.

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