Friday, August 23, 2019

STRONGER Patents Act 2019 - An Even Bigger Fraud

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On August 22, 2019, Ambassador John Kenneth (“Ken”) Blackwell wrote an article entitled Congress Must Stop The Erosion Of Patent Rights.  Making reference to the proposed STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 sponsored by Steve Stivers (R-OH), Bill Foster (D-IL), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE), he argued that ‘inventors’ should enjoy more unquestioned ‘rights’ and that the Patent Trial Appeals Board (PTAB) should be “reined in” as they were invalidating “over 75% of patents issued by the USPTO.”  Ambassador Blackwell is on the wrong side of history…again.  You might remember this masonic Ohioan from his infamous role as Secretary of State of Ohio during the controversial election of George H. W. Bush when he said of a court ruling against his bigotry that he would rather go to jail that follow the court’s order.  He must have forgotten that Masonic (he’s a Mason) values include honor and integrity.  But then again, he’s a Fellow of The Family Research Council – an organization that has never let honor or integrity stand in its way.

You probably don’t care about patents.  I doubt you have given them a moment’s thought today.  But you should.  You are currently paying a tax to a broken innovation propaganda machine to the tune of an estimated 12.6% in many of the products and services you purchase.  And its fair to say that over ½ of that tax is flowing to companies and individuals who have defrauded the patent offices and, by extension, you.  So, put bluntly, you’re being robbed.  And the worst part of it is the U.S. Government and its global counterparts are not only complicit – they KNOW that it’s happening and choose to do nothing.

Whether it’s the PTAB, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or ‘second-set-of-eyes’ patent examination – the facts are tragic.  With just a second opinion, close to 70% of the patents that are granted by the world’s patent offices are deemed invalid.  Imagine what would happen if 60-70% of the dollars in your wallet or in your bank account were counterfeit.  How long would you put up with that?

Ambassador Blackwell, Representative Stivers and Foster and Senators Cotton and Coons are dead wrong.  But its not just the STRONGER Patent Act of 2019 that’s the problem.  It’s the issue I addressed in last week’s blog post regarding propaganda.  Since 1981 when Japan eclipsed the United States in legitimate patent filing, the U.S. Government’s official response was to liberalize the criteria for getting patents.  This resulted an order of magnitude increase in patent activity.  Did we get smarter?  No!  We got better at stealing, lying, and plagiarizing.  And while it’s popular to blame the Chinese for ‘stealing’ innovation, where were the politicians when Siemens’ and GE executives stated that they took innovation from universities because “universities don’t have the legal war chest to fight them,” in 1997 at RSNA?  Where were the politicians and industry associations when the (dis)Honorable Gerald J.Mossinghoff – former Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of the USPTO – told an audience in Washington D.C. that if, “you bring me someone else’s patent and a check for $50,000, I can get you the same patent”?  Where was Congress when UPSTO Commissioner Q. Todd Dickinson comfortably stated that his job was not to ensure patent quality but rather to “get his customers their patents.”

We’ve gone nearly 40 years making the fraudulent patent the foundation of our “knowledge economy” illusion.  Foolishly, na├»ve countries like Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom and the European Union have decided that it’s better to play ball than to hold up quality standards.  Not surprisingly, the weight of the World Bank, the OECD, and every national initiative to build “knowledge economy” businesses have suffocated nascent innovation under the bloated ‘entrepreneur’ enablement interventions rather than building vibrant economies flourishing with transformative ideas.  Tragically, with the exception of the Kingdom of Denmark – yes, the one that won’t sell Greenland to Donald Trump – no other country has been willing to call the bluff underpinning the Propaganda Economy’s leading currency – the fraudulent and plagiarized patent.  And now a Conservative Republican is chiding Congress to defend the system his generation contaminated beyond repair.

It used to be that I was simply a locust eating, sackcloth-wearing prophet when I testified in Congress at the Patent Quality Hearings in the early 2000s.  But times have changed.  By measuring the quality that the Ambassador, Congressmen, and Senators patently ignore, M·CAM has succeeded in out performing the equity markets with our indexes and funds since 2013.  And while academicians, economists, and legal apologists all seek to count patents in their Monopoly game while ignoring the multiply confirmed counterfeit majority of these artifacts of manipulation – not invention – our indexes and our funds show the value of separating the truth from the fiction.  And regrettably, if STRONGER Patents gets passed, our performance will likely improve.

You don’t care.  When you pay too much for food, medicine, smartphones, appliances, cars, voice-recognition customer service, building materials, seeds and so many other things, you don’t know that this theft is truly OUR PROBLEM.  And the ignorance born of our confusion in believing that we’re increasing ‘knowledge’ while in reality being constrained by curated propaganda paralyzes us in the face of the tyranny of messages like those spouted by Ambassador Blackwell.  Do you care?  Share this and last week’s blog post in as many circles as you can.  See if someone somewhere offers a counter-message to the Ambassador’s before Congress takes us back to the Dark Ages.


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Friday, August 16, 2019

Dateline 1945 – The “Knowledge” Economy Propaganda Machine

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 One hundred years ago, Everett Dean Martin was appointed to serve as chairman of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures in an effort to advance the emerging movie entertainment genre.  Having spent nearly a decade of his life as the First Congregational Church in Lombard, Illinois, he became a national evangelist for the psychological paradox he saw unfolding with the proliferation of technology outpacing education of citizens sufficient to keep them fully informed of how to consume media and messages.  Having seen how the technology of late 19th and early 20th century religion had been effectively co-opted by business, politics, and civil society, he campaigned against those who appealed to self-serving and “ignoble” instincts to shape public behavior, belief, actions and thought.  In the wake of the demagoguery that inflamed the horrors of World War I, he knew that, “the crowd is a state of mind,” and the capacity for masses to fixate on delusional ideology gave near omnipotence to the “enemies of humanity”.  In his 1920 essay The Mob Mind vs. Civil Liberty, Martin anticipated the “pandemonium of propaganda” that was inevitable when technology afforded greater access to ideology than to expansive and liberal education.  It is with some irony that the motion picture board to which he was appointed would one day help fulfill his greatest fears.

“Certain crowd-movements in America today give marked evidence of this unconscious motivation. Notice how both the radical and reactionary elements behave when, as is frequently the case with both, the crowd-spirit comes over them. Certain radicals, who are fascinated with the idea of the Russian Revolution, are still proclaiming sentiments of human brotherhood, peace, and freedom, while unconsciously they are doing just what their enemies accuse them of-playing with the welcome ideas of violence, class war, and proletarian dictatorship. And conservative crowds, while ostensibly defending American traditions and ideals against destructive foreign influence, are with their own hands daily desecrating many of the finest things which America has given to the world in its struggle of more than a century for freedom and justice. Members of each crowd, while blissfully unaware of the incompatibility of their own motives and professions, have no illusions about those of the counter-crowd. Each crowd sees in the professions of its antagonist convincing proof of the insincerity and hypocrisy of the other side. To the student of social philosophy both are right and both wrong. All propaganda is lies, and every crowd is a deceiver, but its first and worst deception is that of itself.”

This critique, written one hundred years ago today could be republished in 2019 with no editing and be seen as the epitaph to the century past.

Martin died in 1941.  He didn’t live to see the immediate fulfillment of his worst fears.  The V-2 rocket, the U-boat, signal intelligence and encryption, broadcast propaganda all unleashed the inhumane fury that he sought do desperately to warn humanity against.  When in response to the industrial consequence of largely German propaganda-fueled innovation the Allies realized that they had been bested, a more malignant propaganda economy was born.  Unable to compete with superior ideas and innovations for the most part (save the notable atomic initiative), the industries of Allied economies in the 1940s were dictated by espionage-acquired intercepts and salvaged technologies – not by the ingenuity of their engineers and scientists.  From 1945 – 1959, Operation Paperclip (the collection of German engineers and scientists through overt and covert operations) did more to fuel the second half of the twentieth century than any other single action.  While telling the story of technological supremacy to reinforce the “winning” narrative dear to the US psyche, the nation was duped into believing that Americans were dictating the industrial technology agenda rather than scaling and appropriating the intellect of others.  We weren’t defining what America needed.  Rather, we were reflexively responding to evidence of the supremacy of “others”.  Remember, the modern computer was not born of U.S. or British science.  British, US, and Australian intelligence were driven to produce countermeasures to the superior technology that Japanese and German cypher engineers and mathematicians invented.

I spent the past few days in Boston and Silicon Valley.  The frequency with which I was accosted with the term made popular by Peter Drucker fifty years ago in his book The Age of Discontinuity – the “Knowledge Economy” – was deafening.  At one point, I snapped.

“We don’t live in a Knowledge Economy,” I said.  “We have been living in the Propaganda Economy.”

The words barely escaped my lips before I realized that this observation has been what I’ve spent the past three decades of my life attempting to overcome.  Reflecting on the dire prophecies of Everett Martin, recounting the socioeconomic adoration of Peter Drucker, I realized that since the end of the Second World War, we’ve abdicated “knowledge” for reflexive and compulsive enterprises which serve not the benefit of humanity in the main but rather seek to satiate the unconsidered consumption of incremental industrial output.  We are told what to fear (and desire) – morbidity, mortality, economic and egoic existential ‘threats’.  Then we’re told what and how to consume antidotes for manufactured “needs”.  We’re deluded into “choosing” among indecipherable “alternatives” (Apple vs. Android; Prescription vs. Wholistic; Industrial vs. Organic; Green vs. Polluting) while being ignorant to the ever-narrowing aperture delimiting unconstrained innovation.  We have over 10 million patents on less than 50,000 products.  We have the proliferation of “information” curated by advertiser-fueled “technologies” without considering the inherent influence or bias that shapes the sanctioning of messages.  And against this backdrop, we hear the cacophony of hypnotic academicians, advisors, politicians, pundits, and industrialists celebrating “knowledge”.

I recently lectured in Palo Alto.  The room was filled with the venture funded experts at the “cutting edge” of technology.  For three hours I described the consequence of incremental vs. fundamental innovation.  In simple biologic, physiologic and chemical terms, I described how they could integrate known, established, science to make disruptive impacts in their respective areas of work.  While I spoke, several individuals frantically sought to ‘google’ the concepts, terms, and research I was referencing commenting on how none of them were ‘trained’ to think in the wide-ranging scope of my talk.  From photosynthesis to membrane oligomerization; from Particle Swarm mathematics to lossless encryption; from genetics to social psychology…the range was extensive…and entirely necessary and effective.

“I think we need to rethink how we think,” was the comment articulated by one of the participants in the end.  “Nobody is thinking like this.”

“I hope you don’t think like me,” I responded.  “I just hope you think.”

Walter Powell wrote that, “the key component of the knowledge economy is a greater reliance on intellectual capabilities than on physical inputs or natural resources,” in The Annual Review of Sociology in 2004.  In 1969, Drucker polarized labor into those who work with their hands or the heads.  And herein lies the fallacy upon which the propaganda is built.  For “knowledge” to enable an economy, it cannot be the curation of the observations and recitations of others.  Rather it must be the synthesis of cognitive acuity, analog practice, and a fundamental curiosity born not of consumer expedience but rather from qualitative examination of conscious existence.  In other words, if the ‘problem’ is what you’re ‘solving’ than you’re contributing to a Propaganda Economy.  Because in a genuine Knowledge Economy, we’re arranging matter and energy to optimize existence – not “solving problems” born of myopic perspective shaped by myths, mantras, and media. 

Returning to Everett Martin one more time – his genuine admonition to work towards adult education which would outpace (and hold in check) technological development is one that bears consideration.  The notion that by our second decade we have acquired all the “education” we need to function in society supports the crowd thinking against which he unsuccessfully warned.  It’s time that we enter into continuous education.  And start it by turning off your computer, your iPhone, or your electronic device and read something written before 1945.  See if you could learn a thing or two from knowledge before it was so economically hijacked!

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