Comment: Your analysis is the one that's exactly backwards

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Your analysis is the one that's exactly backwards

As a proven engineer, designer, inventor and entrepreneur, I can tell you flat out, I have fought only one roadblock at every turn. That is funding.

Of course, one could blame this on the monetary system in play (and I very much do) but in this current system, we are forced to at least partially cater to their whims. That means that our business model must guarantee our future market being sufficient to repay the terms of the investment. Read that again with an emphasis on the word 'guarantee'. Those guys don't do anything with any risk involved at any level, period, point blank. I can't stress this enough. It is why only creative financing will fund the newest advances. Believe me, I know.

Reference http://www.google.com/patents/US5368490 and you'll see a pretty good idea for improving the safety and convenience of wall power outlets. When I undertook that one 20 years ago, it would have taken $300k for the molds to make just the UL test prototypes to be destroyed and that was just using cheap molds that had a <100 use capacity. There was no online crowd to go to for this funding so I was forced into the normal channels. Unfortunately due to the investor demands, I was forced to let it expire. They forced me to get a patent, which I did and then they forced me into exclusivity. Showed them where they could stick it. That was lesson one. Never again that way.

Since then I (and some colleagues) have developed systems ranging from small to large, with minimal impact to massive and each time, the funding is the problem. Every problem you could name in the world today could be solved in one year because the technology exists today but the funding doesn't. If you remove patents, you completely destroy and already crippled system. However, if you solve that problem, I'll concede on the patents.

Another recent development that promises to assist in getting things to market is the DIY movement of 3D printers, user friendly open source CAD/CAM, intelligent machining centers, online materials databases and DIY automation. When these finally reach maturity, many more possibilities will open up. That offer the opportunity for at least a smallish group to complete the process and earn a living. Until then, if you want to create anything more complex than an iPhone case, it will take massive amounts of money. There's just no way around it.

So, back on topic, you say these things will happen more often when IP is vanished? I empathize with your concern over corporate patent trolls, but they're just not stopping the really big stuff. Those big, grand ideas are simply staying underground for the time being (and obviously NOT making MSM news) until such time as a path to completion is found. If you see these breakthroughs taking place at a university, those people caved for small, short-term money but they will rarely get to market. Same with grants. Both are cons and both are being used in scams. Even the invention shops and innovation creation centers mandate that you sign over nearly full control prior to receiving any help.

But let's say that we do get to the point where I can raise the money or assistance or materials online for free. That in itself is a tremendous undertaking. Why in the world would I want to spend all the time fundraising, promoting, re-designing, collaborating and conceding on my design when the end game for it becomes an open source file that the average Joe can download and print at home? If that 'printing' process costs too much for Joe, he won't do it and neither will any company. My goals are not to do those tasks. My goals are to hire those tasks done, and focus on inventing and creating and seeing people benefit from that creation. To do that, I must ensure it reaches the market so I also need control over it's future. I'm not in it to get filthy rich but without a paycheck, my time and that of any support team will definitely go elsewhere.