patent troll

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The Pirate's Dilemma by Matt Mason

"side hustle", Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Firefox, future of work, glass ceiling, global village, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, patent troll, peer-to-peer, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Catalog

A company’s or individual’s ability to make money should be based on their ability to innovate and create value, not file lawsuits. But for some, frivolous lawsuits are the entire business plan. These companies sometimes get called patent trolls: they don’t invent or make anything themselves, they just buy patents that already exist—or register patents for good ideas already in the public domain. They then track down businesses and individuals already using those ideas, and extort money from them either by suing or threatening to sue. These companies create no value for society at all. The only purpose they serve is to make money by suing other people who are. Forgent Networks was a company accused by critics of patent trolling when they purchased a patent to JPEG digital image compression in 1997, a widely used technology that had been freely available since 1987. In 2004 Forgent threw lawsuits at forty-four businesses *Piracy, one could argue, was at the birth of Disney, too.

Patent and Trademarks Office reinvestigated Forgent’s claim and found the patent to be invalid, because the technology was previously in the public domain. The company abandoned all claims on the patent and walked away, keeping the $90 million it had made licensing the rights to JPEGs to thirty companies. The negative effect this is having has not gone unnoticed, and laws are being proposed in the United States and many other countries that will make patent trolling of this kind much more difficult in the future. But patent trolls aren’t just going after private businesses; they also have their sites set on our most priceless assets. Our attitude to piracy is important, because what is happening to our freedoms in the world is a troubling sign of things to come elsewhere. There is a race on to patent and control the building blocks of life itself. Biotech companies are patenting the genetic codes of crops, animals, and even human tissues.

For information, address Free Press Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. free press and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Designed by Kyoko Watanabe Illustration by Ji Lee Visit us on the World Wide Web: http://www.SimonSays.com Library of Congress Control Number: 2007023530 ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5401-1 ISBN-10: 1-4165-5401-7 For Emily CONTENTS INTRO: Enter the Lollipop 1 1. Punk Capitalism From D.I.Y. to Downloading Sneakers 9 2. The Tao of Pirates Sea Forts, Patent Trolls, and Why We Need Piracy 33 3. We Invented the Remix Cut-’n’-Paste Culture Creates Some New Common Ground 68 4. The Art of War Street Art, Branding, and the Battle for Public Space 103 5. Boundaries Disco Nuns, the Death of the Record Industry, and Our Open-Source Future 134 6. Real Talk How Hip-Hop Makes Billions and Could Bring About World Peace 172 7. Ethernomics Pillow Fights, Happy Slaps, and Other Memes That Leave a Mark 202 OUTRO: The Pirate’s Dilemma: Changing the Game Theory 231 Acknowledgments 241 Notes 245 Index 269 You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

The crudest way companies can keep their knowledge to themselves is through the law. James Watt and the Wright brothers riled their contemporaries with their willingness to enforce patents to stop other people’s research on steam and flight, respectively. Patent trolling can be thought of as a pure-play form of this strategy. The patent troll buys up patents, often from defunct companies, and goes around seeking to enforce legal rights against anyone who might otherwise benefit from the spillovers of the original investment. There are good reasons to deplore patent trolling—but it is a pretty straightforward consequence of the spillover characteristic of intangible assets. If the law isn’t strong enough, companies can lobby to have it changed. Copyright lawyers sometimes talk about the Mickey Mouse Curve—the steadily increasing length of copyright in US law that grows just fast enough to stop Disney’s iconic mouse from entering the public domain.

In the 1920s Edgar Rice Burroughs acquired a trademark for Tarzan, one of his fictional creations, in addition to his copyright. This fusion of creative and commercial intangible property is what we have to thank for the media franchises of today, from Star Wars lunchboxes to Princess Elsa costumes. And, of course, today issues of intangible property continue to be contested. Global trade negotiations founder on disputes between the United States and China over piracy and fair use. Patent trolls pursue their controversial calling in the courts of the Eastern District of Texas or of Moscow. Controversies arise when companies try to push the limits of the intellectual property rights in new ways, such as when, in 2015, tractor maker John Deere argued that, under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, customers who had bought its tractors did not have the right to repair them themselves.

Copyright lawyers sometimes talk about the Mickey Mouse Curve—the steadily increasing length of copyright in US law that grows just fast enough to stop Disney’s iconic mouse from entering the public domain. When Disney first created Mickey, his copyright was due to expire in 1984. Extensions in 1976 and 1998 mean that this won’t happen until 2023. And who knows what new laws might be made between now and then. Patent trolls and copyright lawsuits catch our attention because they are newsworthy, but other ways of capturing the spillovers of intangible investment are more common—in fact, they’re part of the invisible fabric of everyday business life. They often involve reciprocity rather than compulsion or legal threats. Software developers use online repositories like GitHub to share code; being an active contributor and an effective user of GitHub is a badge of honor for some developers.


pages: 457 words: 125,329

Value of Everything: An Antidote to Chaos The by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cleantech, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, European colonialism, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, G4S, George Akerlof, Google Hangouts, Growth in a Time of Debt, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, rent control, rent-seeking, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software patent, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

The risk of infringing the patent can also prevent other firms from marketing their products or services. Another related and growing practice is ‘patent-trolling': the strategic holding of patents, not to develop or commercialize the underlying idea but deliberately to collect royalties through patent enforcement. A market for patents has emerged in which the value of the patent is divorced - or effectively monetized - from the value of the production of goods or services the patent makes possible. It has been argued that strategic patenting can aid innovation by providing small firms with liquidity as they seek to bear the costs of development and commercialization32 - but the evidence suggests that this practice is also causing harm. James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer, authors of The Patent Litigation Explosion, estimate that ‘patent trolls cost defendant firms $29 billion per year in direct out-of-pocket costs'.33 Another study finds that in aggregate, ‘patent litigation destroys over $60 billion in firm wealth each year',34 with the costs falling more heavily on smaller firms.35 UNPRODUCTIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP It might be said that these changes have, collectively, caused patents to result not in productive but in unproductive entrepreneurship.

Mazzoleni and Nelson, ‘The benefits and costs of strong patent protection'. 32. S. Haber and S. H. Werfel, ‘Why do inventors sell to patent trolls? Experimental evidence for the asymmetry hypothesis', Stanford University Working Paper, 27 April 2015. 33. J. Bessen and M. J. Meurer, ‘The Patent Litigation Explosion', Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, 45(2) (2013), pp. 401-40: http://lawecommons.luc.edu/luclj/vol45/iss2/5 34. J. E. Bessen et al., ‘Trends in private patent costs and rents for publicly-traded United States firms'(March 2015). Boston University School of Law, Public Law Research Paper no. 13-24: SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2278255 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2278255 35. C. V. Chien, ‘Startups and patent trolls', Stanford Technology Law Review, 17 (2014), pp. 461-506. 36. W. J. Baumol, Entrepreneurship, Management and the Nature of Payoffs (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993), ch. 2, p. 25; see also ch. 4. 37.

Financialised Chains and the Crisis in Residential Care, CRESC Public Interest Report, March 2015. Business Week, ‘Blue-ribbon venture capital', 29 October 1960. Butler, S., ‘How Philip Green's family made millions as value of BHS plummeted', the Guardian, 25 April 2016: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/25/bhs-philip-green- family-millions-administration-arcadia Chien, C. V., ‘Startups and patent trolls', Stanford Technology Law Review, 17 (2014), pp. 461-506. Christophers, B., ‘Making finance productive', Economy and Society, 40(1) (2011), pp. 112-40. Christophers, B., Banking Across Boundaries (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). Churchill, W., ‘WSC to Sir Otto Niemeyer, 22 February 1925', Churchill College, Cambridge, CHAR 18/12A-B. Clark, J. B., The Distribution of Wealth: A Theory of Wages, Interest and Profits (New York: Macmillan, 1899).


pages: 288 words: 64,771

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality by Brink Lindsey

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Build a better mousetrap, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, inventory management, invisible hand, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, mass incarceration, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, software patent, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Washington Consensus, white picket fence, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

The dysfunctions of the patent system have been exacerbated in recent years by the rise of so-called patent assertion entities, better known as “patent trolls.” Patent trolls are firms that neither manufacture nor sell products but instead specialize in amassing patent portfolios for the purpose of initiating infringement lawsuits. According to a White House report, lawsuits by patent trolls tripled between 2010 and 2012 alone, as the share of total patent infringement suits initiated by such firms rose from 29 percent to 62 percent.24 That’s right: most patent infringement suits are now brought by firms that make no products at all and whose chief activity is to prevent other companies from making products. A 2012 study found that the direct costs of defending patent troll suits (i.e., lawyers’ and licensing fees) came to $29 billion in 2011. To put that figure in context, it amounts to more than 10 percent of total annual R&D expenditures by US businesses.25 The threat of such predatory behavior has given rise to the practice of “defensive patenting,” seeking patents for one’s own products or amassing portfolios of others’ patents in the hope of protecting oneself from infringement suits.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

And the patent system has distorted the direction of research and development, so that resources flow towards areas that promise high rental income, not to areas that would maximise the public good or benefit the less well-off. PATENT TROLLING AND HOOVERING In the USA, the monopoly rents gained from patents have spawned a lucrative industry of ‘patent trolls’: firms that produce nothing themselves but buy up unexploited or undervalued patents with the sole intention of tracking down supposed patent violators and demanding they pay licence fees for use of the patent or face court action. On being threatened by trolls, many corporations pay up simply to avoid lengthy and expensive legal procedures. Nevertheless, there were over 5,000 US lawsuits in 2014, driven by multiple filings by patent trolls, frequently aimed at big tech companies. Apple claimed in 2014 to have been the subject of nearly 100 patent lawsuits in the preceding three years.

In areas such as pharmaceuticals and information and communications technologies there is also a problem of ‘patent thickets’, with rival firms holding key patents on some aspect of the overall technology. Witness the ‘smartphone patent wars’, started between Apple and Samsung, which have involved all the main smartphone manufacturers suing each other in various combinations and in various countries, with damages claims running into billions of dollars. Patent thickets and patent trolls have become impediments to innovation in the IT sector because companies cannot move without stumbling over someone else’s patent and having to pay licensing fees to multiple patent owners. A mobile phone, for instance, may have as many as 3,000 different patents. Similarly, in the pharmaceuticals sector, the development of combined drug formulations for people with Aids has been hampered because the drugs are patented by different companies.

In many cases, as noted earlier, corporations buy up patents less to use them than to defend themselves. A paper for the St Louis Federal Reserve, hardly a hotbed of radicalism, concluded: ‘The vast bulk of patents are not only useless, they don’t represent innovation at all. They are part of an arms race. Any successful large company needs a large portfolio of patents to fend off potential lawsuits by rivals and by patent trolls.’13 Besides hoovering up others’ patents, corporations have devised clever tactics to extend patents or the rental income from them. The pharmaceutical industry does this by ‘follow-on’ patenting or ‘ever-greening’ (making small changes to drug formulations and claiming a new invention), by clever marketing that maintains demand for a branded product after the patent expires, or by entering ‘pay-for-delay’ agreements with generic producers, enabling firms to continue to receive rental income beyond the patent term by delaying the entry of cheaper generics on the market.14 The USA, European Union members and some other countries have introduced another extension of rental income for drugs by granting pharmaceutical companies ‘data exclusivity’ and ‘market exclusivity’ beyond the patent term.


pages: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

But some—so-called patent trolls—were playing a game of legal arbitrage, filing as many patents as possible in order to get larger companies to settle with them for the use of their technology. By the time Barack Obama took office in 2009, the patent troll narrative had reached a fever pitch. It was a story line supported by many Big Tech companies14 that individually and via lobbying bodies pushed for the America Invents Act. The law established a non-court adjudication body, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The idea was to save time and money with the non-court inter partes process, and indeed, patent claims went from taking three years and an average cost of $2 million to settle, to taking eighteen months and costing $200,000. The argument about patent trolls increasingly rang false.

“This second round of drastic cutbacks to the patent system was a commercial ploy designed not to stop abuse but to cut supply chain costs by devaluing others’ innovation.” The new legislation was ultimately held up in Congress. Meanwhile, Michelle Lee, Google’s former head of IP, eventually took over as head of the USPTO. In 2013, the White House put out an alarming report on the prevalence of patent trolls and their destructive effects, blaming them for two-thirds of patent suits. Yet subsequent research done by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office put that number at one-fifth, and other data showed that the number of patent defendants had been roughly flat before and after the AIA. “The historical trend in litigation rates relative to patents granted clearly does not support claims that litigation in the past decades has ‘exploded’ above the long-term norm,” wrote Bowdoin College professor Zorina Khan in a 2013 paper entitled “Trolls and Other Patent Inventions.”

In a January 2019 interview with Google’s chief counsel, Kent Walker, who came on board the company in 2006, he said that Google hadn’t begun to think about issues like antitrust until 2008. 13. Rana Foroohar, “Big Tech vs. Big Pharma: The Battle Over US Patent Protection,” Financial Times, October 16, 2017. 14. In a January 2019 interview with me, Google’s chief counsel, Kent Walker, reiterated the patent troll narrative and said he felt the changes to the U.S. patent system had “left us in a better place with a stronger, more robust, more resilient patent system.” 15. B. Zorina Khan, “Trolls and Other Patent Inventions: Economic History and the Patent Controversy in the Twenty-First Century,” https://papers.ssrn.com/​sol3/​papers.cfm?abstract_id=2344853. 16. Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (New York: Random House, 2011), 125. 17.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The result, says one observer, is that ‘lobbying and litigating may be a more profitable way to win market share than innovating or investing’. Today, the biggest generators of new patents in the US system are ‘patent trolls’ – firms that buy up weak patent applications with no intention of making the products in question, but with every intention of making money by suing those who infringe them. Research in Motion, the Canadian company that manufactures BlackBerries, had to pay $600m to a small patent troll called NTP that did no manufacturing itself but had acquired contested patents with the aim of profiting from their defence. Michael Heller’s analogy for the patent trolls is to the state of the river Rhine between the decay of Holy Roman imperial power and the emergence of modern states. Hundreds of castles grew up all along the Rhine, one every few miles, each occupied by a little robber baron princeling living off tolls exacted from boats travelling along the river.

p. 264 ‘a logjam in the manufacture of radios caused by the blocking patents held by four firms’. Benkler, Y. 2006. The Wealth of Networks. Yale University Press. p. 265 ‘the biggest generators of new patents in the US system are “patent trolls” – firms that buy up weak patent applications’. I am indebted to R. Litan for this information. p. 265 ‘Research in Motion, the Canadian company that manufactures BlackBerries’. Baumol, W.J., Litan, R.E. and Schramm, C.J. 2007. Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism. Yale University Press. p. 265 ‘Michael Heller’s analogy for the patent trolls is to the state of the river Rhine between the decay of Holy Roman imperial power and the emergence of modern states’. Heller, M. 2008. The Gridlock Economy. Basic Books. p. 266 ‘In one survey of 650 R&D executives from 130 different industries’.


When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

The conference certainly did not curtail the use of genetic engineering for the development of biological weapons. Patent trolls One fanciful hypothesis is that the patent trolls and legal system will be our saviours. The development of an AGI would provide a rich source of patents both trivial and real. Where there are patents, there are wonderful opportunities for aggressive litigation. If exploited effectively, patent wars could make the development of artificial intelligence uneconomical. Organizations would spend their budgets on patent attorneys and lawyers, with little remaining for any real engineering, which would be pointless anyway because nothing could be brought to market without extensive, destructive litigation. So we have misunderstood the motivations of patent trolls and attorneys. They are not greedy, self-serving parasites whose only interest is to promote themselves at the expense of others.

Goal consistency 14. Unpredictable algorithms 15. Ethics 16. Defeating natural selection 17. Wishful thinking 18. Whole brain emulation 19. Chain of AGIs 20. Running away 21. Just do not build an AGI 8. Political Will 1. Atom bombs 2. Iran's atomic ambitions 3. Stuxnet 4. Glass houses 5. Zero day exploits 6. Practicalities of abstinence 7. Restrict computer hardware 8. Asilomar conference 9. Patent trolls 10. Does it really matter? 9. Conclusion 1. Geological history 2. History of science 3. Natural selection 4. Human instincts 5. Intelligence 6. AI technologies 7. Building an AGI 8. Semi-intelligent machines 9. Goals 10. Prognosis 10. Bibliography and Notes When Computers Can Think The Artificial Intelligence Singularity Anthony Berglas, Ph.D. More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads.


pages: 295 words: 90,821

Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy Is a Sign of Success by Dietrich Vollrath

"Robert Solow", active measures, additive manufacturing, American Legislative Exchange Council, barriers to entry, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, endogenous growth, falling living standards, hiring and firing, income inequality, intangible asset, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, old age dependency ratio, patent troll, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, women in the workforce, working-age population

Or did this patent just help Amazon shut out some potential competitors back in the days before it was Amazon as we know it today, when it was just an online bookseller with aspirations to something more? The group of “patent troll” firms is something of a textbook example of IPRs creating market power with no benefits. These firms buy up patents and run around suing companies for infringement, mostly hoping to get some sort of settlement, while their targets hope to avoid actual litigation. They provide a useful benchmark for evaluating other firms. Do we think the rise in market power and markups over time is because firms are acting more and more like patent trolls, or because they have distinct innovations that are worth protecting? You wouldn’t call Apple a patent troll. Or would you? Apple sued Samsung in 2011 because Samsung produced a smartphone that was a rectangle with rounded edges and had a grid of app icons on the main screen.


pages: 327 words: 102,322

Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish, Sean Silcoff

Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, corporate governance, diversified portfolio, indoor plumbing, Iridium satellite, patent troll, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the new new thing

The other was a business relationship with Telefind’s lawyer, Donald Stout, a former government patent examiner based in Arlington, Virginia, who liked to hunt in his spare time. Stout saw an opportunity to parlay Campana’s patent rights into a revenue stream of licensing fees at a time wireless data was taking off. The two men formed NTP to hold the stranded patents. The skeletal company was part of a growing breed of patent trolls whose primary business was to sue businesses allegedly infringing on their rights. Lawyers represented trolls on the contingency they would share a portion of any court awards. It was a booming business. U.S. lawsuits filed by patent trolls rose sharply to 428 in 2007 and 2,750 just five years later, by which point they accounted for nearly 60 percent of all U.S. patent lawsuits, double the level of five years earlier.4 Stout started the hunt for licensing fees by writing letters to dozens of communications companies suggesting they were infringing on its technology.

He lobbied governments on both sides of the border and spoke to business groups to push for reforms that might prevent the legal brinksmanship that nearly flattened RIM. Washington and Ottawa were receptive, but progress was slow. In this vacuum, tech companies strengthened their legal rights by acquiring patent collections from struggling rivals. With Motorola’s patent chest, RIM would hold a much stronger hand against patent trolls and competitors alike. Balsillie and senior RIM executives and bankers met frequently in Schaumburg with Brown and his team during the spring and summer of 2008. Balsillie initially believed the takeover would happen. Motorola was under enormous pressure from investors to sell its mobility business. Motorola’s weakened condition did not prevent it from slapping a rich price tag on its mobility unit.


pages: 189 words: 57,632

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow

AltaVista, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Law of Accelerating Returns, Metcalfe's law, Mitch Kapor, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

So far, very few of us have been really bitten in the ass by EULAs, but that's because EULAs are generally associated with companies who have products or services they're hoping you'll use, and enforcing their EULAs could cost them business. But that was the theory with patents, too. So long as everyone with a huge portfolio of unexamined, overlapping, generous patents was competing with similarly situated manufacturers, there was a mutually assured destruction — a kind of detente represented by cross-licensing deals for patent portfolios. But the rise of the patent troll changed all that. Patent trolls don't make products. They make lawsuits. They buy up the ridiculous patents of failed companies and sue the everloving hell out of everyone they can find, building up a war-chest from easy victories against little guys that can be used to fund more serious campaigns against larger organizations. Since there are no products to disrupt with a countersuit, there's no mutually assured destruction.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, superconnector, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

Patents were designed to prevent someone else from blatantly infringing on your idea, but they also function as a response to another curious phenomenon: unintentional duplication. Handing a patent on an invention to one person creates artificial scarcity. It is a crude device, and patent offices have been horribly abused in recent years by “patent trolls”; they’re people who get a patent for something (either by conceiving the idea themselves, or buying it) without any intention of actually producing the invention—it’s purely so they can sue, or soak, people who go to market with the same concept. Patent trolls employ the concept of multiples in a perverted reverse, using the common nature of new ideas to hold all inventors hostage. I’ve talked to entrepreneurs who tell me they’d like to talk openly online about what they’re working on. They want to harness multiples.

See theory of multiples multiplexing, 142 multitasking, pros/cons of, 135–36 Mundaneum, 122 Munroe, Randall, 116 Muybridge, Eadweard, 97 Myrdal, Gunnar, 252 Myung-bak, Lee, 260 Nabokov, Vladimir, 23 Napier, John, 59 narcissism, and social network postings, 220–22 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 183–84 Natsidia, Christoph, 16 “Nature of the Firm, The” (Coase), 152 Navalny, Alexei, 105–6 Naver, 74–75 Netflix, 169 neurasthenia, 224 Nielsen, Michael, 160 Nilsson, Nils, 103 Nintendo, 149 Nook, 82 Norman, Don, 116 note taking, 120–21 novels, early, critics of, 223–24 Obama, Barack, 88, 239 ObscuraCam, 274 Occupy Wall Street, 81 Odnoklassniki, 269 Offer, Daniel, 27 Ogburn, William, 58–60 O’Gorman, Hubert, 251–52 Okolloh, Ory, 45–46, 61–63 omniopticon, 238, 241 O’Neill, Michael, 216–17 “On Exactitude in Science” (Borges), 33 open-source, 112 O’Reilly, Tim, 76 Orwell, George, 106–7, 236–37 Otlet, Paul, 122–23 Otpor!, 267 Pac-Man (video game), 148 PageRank (Google), 33 Pan, Bing, 204 Panagopoulos, Costas, 83–85 panopticon, 236–37 Papert, Seymour, 188–93 Pariser, Eli, 230–31 Park, Clara Claiborne, 132–33 partisan online discourse, 261–63 Patel, Rupal, 19 patent trolls, 64 Pearce, Katy, 269 penicillin, discovery of, 60–61, 63–64 Penny, Laurie, 77 Perry, Rick, 24 Phaedrus (Plato), 68–69, 118 photographic literacy, 105–10 filters, use of, 109–10 LOLcat-crafting, 108–9 photomanipulation, 105–8 political uses, 105–7, 109, 247–48 Photoshop, 107 Pinboard, 154–55 Pinterest, 221 Plato, 68, 117 pluralistic ignorance Egypt, breaking down in, 255–58 social effects of, 252–53 Plutchak, Scott, 208 Pocket, 136 Poincaré, Henri, 131–32 Poke, 242 politics and political activism, 245–77.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

., “Citi Partners with Streetline and IBM to Provide $25 Million Financing for Cities to Adopt Smart Parking Technology,” last modified April 9, 2012, http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/37424.wss. 17Eve Batey, “Muni App Makers, Rejoice: MTA, Apple Disputes Private Company’s Claims To Own Arrival Data,” SF Appeal Online Newspaper, last modified August 19, 2009, http://sfappeal.com/news/2009/08/mike-smith-of-nextbus-said.php. 18Joe Mullin, “A New Target for Tech Patent Trolls: Cash-Strapped American Cities,” Ars Technica, last modified March 15, 2012, http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/03/a-new-low-for-patent-trolls-targeting-cash-strapped-cities/. 19John Tolva, interview by author, November 10, 2011. 20Steve W. Usselman, “Unbundling IBM: Antitrust and the Incentives to Innovation in American Computing,” in Clarke, Lamoreaux, and Usselman, eds., The Challenge of Remaining Innovative (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009), 251. 21Dom Ricci, remarks, X-Cities 3: Heavy Weather—Design and Governance in Rio de Janeiro and Beyond, Columbia University Studio-X, New York, April 10, 2012. 22Noelle Knell, “Detroit Pulls Plug on 311 Call Center,” Government Technology, last modified July 11, 2012, http://www.govtech.com/e-government/Detroit-Pulls-Plug-on-311-Call-Center.html. 23Michael Batty, “A Chronicle of Scientific Planning: The Anglo-American Modeling Experience,” Journal of the American Planning Association 60, no. 1 (1994): 7. 24Michael Batty, telephone interview by author, August 19, 2010. 25Douglass B.

Most local governments, especially risk-averse and fiscally constrained ones in the United States, will shun this enormous responsibility. They lack the capacity to even negotiate controls over the data streams generated by their citizens as they interact with private vendors’ technologies. Watchdog groups will need to step in and identify where the crucial conflicts lie. (And in fact, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is doing just this on behalf of a number of transit agencies being sued by another transit-arrival patent troll, Luxembourg-based ArrivalStar).18 Cities will need regular audits, perhaps conducted by a chief privacy officer or chief data officer charged with extending public control over government- and citizen-generated data. An intriguing option is to hand off this data to a trust equipped to manage it on behalf of citizens, covering its costs—and possibly generating a revenue stream for the city—by licensing the data.


pages: 72 words: 21,361

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hiring and firing, income inequality, intangible asset, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Ray Kurzweil, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, shareholder value, Skype, too big to fail, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

This sector attracts a disproportionate number of the best and the brightest minds and technologies, in part because the government effectively guarantees “too big to fail” institutions. 18. Reform the patent system. Not only does it take years to issue good patents due to the backlog and shortage of qualified examiners, but too many low-quality patents are issued, clogging our courts. As a result, patent trolls are chilling innovation rather than encouraging it. 19. Shorten, rather than lengthen, copyright periods and increase the flexibility of fair use. Copyright covers too much digital content. Rather than encouraging innovation, as specified in the Constitution, excessive restrictions like the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act inhibit mixing and matching of content and using it creatively in new ways.


pages: 106 words: 22,332

Cancel Cable: How Internet Pirates Get Free Stuff by Chris Fehily

Firefox, patent troll, peer-to-peer, pirate software, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, WikiLeaks

DRM prevents you from watching, playing, hearing, reading, opening, or copying something whenever and wherever you want. Retail DVDs, for example, are region-coded to play only in specific parts of the world. Retail music, games, ebooks, and software often have DRM restrictions too. (DRM isn’t about impeding pirates but repeatedly selling ordinary customers the same content in different formats.) Opt out. Every act of piracy nibbles at the world of enforcers, patent trolls, ad agencies, techno-optimists, free-marketeers, agents, graphic designers, and flag wavers. Positive liberty. Pirates’ actions embody the system that they want to create: self-organization, mutual aid, direct action, autonomy, voluntary association, opposition to power, exposure and subversion of coercive institutions, and means consonant with ends. Worldliness. A pirate interprets the headline “US judge orders piracy website to remove all links to infringing content” to mean: The website’s owner isn’t a US citizen or resident.


pages: 463 words: 105,197

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society by Eric Posner, E. Weyl

3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, feminist movement, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, guest worker program, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, market bubble, market design, market friction, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, negative equity, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, Pareto efficiency, passive investing, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Rory Sutherland, Second Machine Age, second-price auction, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, telepresence, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, Zipcar

They are betting that someone who has a pressing reason for using the name will someday offer a lot of money for it.60 For example, during the 2016 presidential cycle in the United States, clicking on the domain address http://www.clintonkaine.com led to an empty page; a cybersquatter had held out for a price the Clinton-Kaine campaign was unwilling to pay. The owner ended up selling instead to a group affiliated with the rival campaign.61 A COST could help address holdout in this and other forms of intellectual property, such as those created by patent trolls who buy up patents and refuse to sell them to technology companies except at exorbitant prices that many companies refuse to pay.62 A COST would be useful for handling many other public assets. For example, ranchers lease grazing rights from the government, which often doesn’t know how to price those rights. A COST, in which ranchers would effectively “buy” grazing rights from each other at self-assessed prices, would work more smoothly.

Glen Weyl, & Anthony Lee Zhang, Redesigning Spectrum Licenses, 40 Regulation (2017). 60. Jacqueline D. Lipton, Beyond Cybersquatting: Taking Domain Name Disputes Past Trademark Policy, 40 Wake Forest Law Review 1361 (2005). 61. Hope King, Owner of ClintonKaine.com wants $90,000, CNN Money (July 27, 2016), http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/27/technology/clinton-kaine-website/index.html. 62. Lauren Cohen, Umit G. Gurun, & Scott Duke Kominers, The Growing Problem of Patent Trolling, 352 Science 521 (2016). 63. It is increasingly popular to refer to such a universal refundable tax credit as a “universal basic income” (UBI). We resist this description because a UBI is typically described as being indexed to some notion of an income required to live a decent life, a notion that we consider ill-defined and which, in any case, is not the aim of our proposal. Our social dividend would be proportioned to the total self-assessed wealth of a country and not to some notion of basic needs. 64.


pages: 349 words: 114,038

Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution by Pieter Hintjens

4chan, airport security, AltaVista, anti-communist, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, business climate, business intelligence, business process, Chelsea Manning, clean water, commoditize, congestion charging, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Debian, Edward Snowden, failed state, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, German hyperinflation, global village, GnuPG, Google Chrome, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, informal economy, intangible asset, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mega-rich, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, packet switching, patent troll, peak oil, pre–internet, private military company, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, selection bias, Skype, slashdot, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, twin studies, union organizing, wealth creators, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day, Zipf's Law

Vendors (those selling stuff) have a corresponding incentive to try to capture that value, restoring profits that would be lost by too much of Adam Smith's invisible hand. The natural monopoly can benefit users by releasing value. A good example: the Internet. It can also punish them by capturing users and then taxing them without mercy. Your mobile phone bill is a case in point. The dream of every self-respecting patent troll is to get patents on a widely used standard, CSIRO-style. Owning a standard allows the owners -- usually a consortium of firms, often including patent trolls -- decide who gets to implement it. This is how large firms keep control of the audio and video encoding markets, the mobile phone market, WiFi, and so on. Consortium standards are generally backed up with patents (because it's a far easier argument to the regulator to say, "We're licensing our patents under a Fair!


pages: 462 words: 129,022

People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, greed is good, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, late fees, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, two-sided market, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working-age population

Krattenmaker and Steven C. Salop, “Competition and Cooperation in the Market for Exclusionary Rights,” American Economic Review 76, no. 2 (1986): 109–13; Steven C. Salop and David T. Scheffman, “Raising Rivals’ Costs,” American Economic Review 73, no. 2 (1983): 267–71. 34.Even established firms sometimes have trouble, and even when the patent is not held by a large company but by what are called “patent trolls,” firms whose main business model is not innovation—bringing their patent to market—but suing for patent infringement. This happened to Blackberry, at one time one of the leading mobile phone companies, which, after extensive litigation, had to pay $612 million just to continue offering its services, whether the patents which it allegedly infringed were eventually held to be valid or not. For start-ups, such suits are even more daunting.

., 210 noncompete clauses, 65–66 nongovernmental organizations, 148–49, 245 norms fragility of, 230–36 Republican violation of, 166–67 and revolving door, 173 not-for-profit universities, 148–49 “notice and comment,” 146 Nuance, 286n34 nutrition, access to, 203 OASDI (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance), 13 Obama, Barack, and administration antitrust actions, 62 bank bailout (2008), 102–3, 113–14 Merrick Garland nomination, 166–67 inequality issue, 39–40 public option for Affordable Care Act, 211 Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), 40, 211–13 obesity, 146–47, 277–78n37 OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development), 36 oil industry, 168 oligopoly, in academic publishing, 76 on-call scheduling, 66, 197 1 percent and country’s overall growth, 19 income growth, 33, 103, 192 and public well-being, 244 share of nation’s wealth, 38, 43 strategies to maintain power, 27 Open Internet Order, 147 open society, 185 opportunity government involvement to promote, 142 inequality in, 44–45 intergenerational transmission of advantage/disadvantage, 199–201 restoring, 197–201 Opportunity Insights, 44–45 organized labor, 66–67, 86–87 “originate-to-distribute” banking model, 110 Orwell, George, 128 oversight, judicial/congressional, See regulation overtime, 66 ownership of data, 129–30 Oxfam, 43 PACs, See political action committees Pai, Ajit, 147 Paris Agreement, 207 part-time work, 66, 193, 214 patents, 59, 74–75, 126–27 patent trolls, 286n34 pattern of trade, 90–91 Paul, Rand, xix Paxton, Robert O., 15–16 per capita income, China, 37, 96 perfect competition, monopoly vs., 56 perfect price discrimination, 318n17 Petersen, Matthew Spencer, 17 Pew Mobility Project, 45 pharmaceutical companies, See Big Pharma Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception (Akerlof and Shiller), 63–64 Piketty, Thomas, 278n38 place-based policies, 187–88 Pledge of Allegiance, 202 polarization, of job market, 119 political action committees (PACs), 169, 171, 172 political manipulation, 128 political opinion, 75 political parties, public disenchantment with, 174 political power, market power and, 77 politics failures of, 5–7 to manage economic consequences of innovation, 121 power of financial sector in, 116 reforming rules of, xxvi pollution, 143; See also environment population growth, 9, 11 populism, 26 postindustrial world, facilitating transition to, 186–88 poverty education and, 200 and inequality of opportunity, 44–45 intergenerational transmission of, 200 life expectancy and, 41 power abuses of, See abuses of power competition vs., 22, 23 market, See market power PPP (purchasing power parity), 272n12 predatory behavior, 145 predatory pricing, 69 pre-distribution, xxv, 198 preemptive mergers, 60–61, 70, 73 price discrimination, 57, 64, 125 pricing power, 48, 50 principal agent problem, 291n58 prisons, See incarceration privacy, 127–30, 135 private equity, 258n6 private prisons, 323n8 private sector, government’s efficiency compared to, 142 productivity human/physical capital investment and, 36–37 improving, 182–83 knowledge and, xxiv, 183–86 restoring, 181–86 in US vs. other advanced countries, 36–37 wages no longer correlated with, 38 wealth of nations and, 9 working hours and, 191 profits from bank fees, 110 in China, 95 competition as threat to, 48 explaining increase in, 54–62 fractional reserve banking and, 111 globalization and, 80 from mergers, 107–8 as source of rent wealth, 54 progressive agenda and party reform/rebuilding, 175–76 in Preamble to the Constitution, 242 to promote general welfare, 242–47 Progressive Era, 12 progressive movements, 175–76 progressive taxation, 198 property rights, trade agreements and, 83, 84 protectionism, 35, 79, 89–92, 94, 240 Protestant Reformation, 10 public education, 200–201 public good(s) data as, 131 markets’ failure to provide, xxiii, 140–41 media as, 11, 133 nongovernmental organizations and, 148–49 research and, 184 public institutions, fragility of, 230–36 Public Interest Doctrine, 352n21 public option(s), 210–11, 220 and Affordable Care Act, 213 for mortgages, 216–18 for retirement savings, 215–16 public–private partnerships, 142 public sector, 115–16; See also government public transit, returns on, 195 public utility, reclassifying Facebook as, 134 purchasing power parity (PPP), 272n12 Putin, Vladimir, 235 Qualcomm, 59 quality of life; See also standards of living access to health care, 212–13 education, 219–20 ensuring decent life for all, 209–21 home ownership, 216–18 secure retirement, 214–16 racial discrimination, 40, 125, 180–81, 201–4; See also discrimination racial inequality, 40 racial justice, economic justice and, 176, 203–4 racism, 203, 241; See also discrimination; racial discrimination rate of return on capital, 53 Reagan, Ronald, and administration economic dogma, 112 financial liberalization, xiii and growth of inequality, 45 laws enabling greater market power, 78 redirection of values, 28 tax cuts, 25 Trump’s parallels with, xvi Reaganomics, xiv–xv, 26–27; See also supply-side economics real estate interests, 168–69 real estate taxes, 206 reason, 11, 228–29 Reconstruction, 241 redistribution, xxv, 122, 156, 198 regressive taxation, 267–68n41 regulation checks and balances on, 232–33 of data, 128–31 failure to keep pace with changing economy, 146–47 2008 financial crisis and, 101–2 financial sector, 115 freedom and, 144 government and, 143–48 importance of, 150 innovation and, 134 process of, 145–46 restoration of, 146–48 of social media, 134–35 of tech giants, 124–25 trade agreements and, 83, 84 regulatory harmonization, 88 regulatory takings, 301n8 relationship banking, 110 religion, 10, 145 religious Right, 223 Renaissance, the, 8 rents and appropriation of wealth by the 1 percent, 244 capitalized, 282n17 failure to share with workers, 282n19 and national income pie, 51–52, 54 profits as source of, 54 taxation of, 206 rent-seeking, xxiv, 52, 113, 169, 229, 244 representative democracy, 6 Republican Party and Affordable Care Act, 213 anti-science stance, 20 and Citizens United, 170 composition of, 175 and corporate tax rates, 85 fiscal stimulus during Great Recession, 121 and gerrymandering, 6, 159 indifference to those left behind by globalization/technology, 186 and lack of consequences for elites in Great Recession, 152 and money in politics, 168 power-seeking objectives, 160 and Supreme Court’s loss of status as fair arbiter, 165–67 and 2017 tax bill, 237 Trump vs.


Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project by Karl Fogel

active measures, AGPL, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, collaborative editing, continuous integration, corporate governance, Debian, Donald Knuth, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Firefox, GnuPG, Hacker Ethic, Internet Archive, iterative process, Kickstarter, natural language processing, patent troll, peer-to-peer, pull request, revision control, Richard Stallman, selection bias, slashdot, software as a service, software patent, SpamAssassin, web application, zero-sum game

Legal Advice and Protection Corporations, for-profit or nonprofit, are almost the only entities that ever pay attention to complex legal issues in free software. Individual developers often understand the nuances of various open source licenses, but they generally do not have the time or resources to competently handle legal issues themselves. If your company has a legal department, it can help a project by assisting with trademark issues, copyright license ownership and compatibility questions, defense against patent trolls, etc. If the project decides to organize formally, or to join an existing umbrella organization, your legal department can help with issues of corporate law, asset transfer, reviewing agreements, and other due diligence matters. Some more concrete ideas of what sorts of legal help might be useful are discussed in Chapter 9, Legal Matters: Licenses, Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents. The main thing is to make sure that communications between the legal department and the development community, if they happen at all, happen with a mutual appreciation of the very different universes the parties are coming from.

Only changes in the substance or interpretation of international patent law will do that. Recent developments, such as the 2014 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court against the patentability of abstract ideas, in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Corp._v._CLS_Bank_International), have made the future of software patents unpredictable. But there is so much money to be extracted via infringement claims, in particular by patent trolls but in general by any entity with a large patent portfolio and a lack of other revenue sources, that I am not optimistic this fight will be over any time soon. If you want to learn more about the problem, there are good links in the Wikipedia article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent. I've also written some blog posts summarizing the arguments against software patents, collected at www.rants.org/patent-posts.


pages: 166 words: 49,639

Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Grace Hopper, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, James Dyson, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Kickstarter, mass immigration, mittelstand, Network effects, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman, tulip mania, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators

Certainly, the juicy profits enjoyed by big pharma in the US are part of the reason that health-care costs there are so high – yet we are all beneficiaries of their discoveries and formulations. I believe in freedom for enterprise, but I also think entrepreneurs must be allowed to reap the just rewards for their efforts. Moreover, it is clear that some abuse the patent system to prevent progress. Too many patents are now issued, many of dubious merit – especially in the field of software patents. Patent trolls abound – those who file ‘paper patents’ or ‘submarine patents’ that they never intend to exploit, but merely use as tools to sue unwitting infringers. Both Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, and even Microsoft have suffered from this harmful toll on endeavour. Inventors I have met are fundamentally motivated by a desire to see their creations become appreciated and recognized, rather than an urge to accumulate wealth.


pages: 172 words: 54,066

The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive by Dean Baker

Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Doha Development Round, financial innovation, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, medical residency, patent troll, pets.com, pirate software, price stability, quantitative easing, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, transaction costs

This is a step forward that will at least call greater attention to outlandish pay packages, but by itself is likely to have little effect on CEO pay. [98] This figure is derived from the industry’s claim that the value that it assigns to “pirated” software was $59 billion in 2010 and that this was equal to 42 percent of total software shipments; see Business Software Alliance (2011). [99] Milliot (2010). [100] Newzoo (2011). [101] There is a whole industry of “patent trolls,” individuals or firms that buy up patents with the hope of finding a major innovation that is arguably derivative of the patent in question. The profit comes from filing a patent infringement suit. The troll just needs to be able to make a plausible case so that it can threaten the company with the possibility of an expensive legal suit and/or an injunction denying the company the use of the technology.


pages: 207 words: 52,716

Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons by Peter Barnes

Albert Einstein, car-free, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, hypertext link, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, jitney, money market fund, new economy, patent troll, profit maximization, Ronald Coase, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra

Today, some say, the secrecy is so intense and the thicket of property rights so dense that the advancement of research has noticeably slowed. The U.S. Patent Office has gone along with this, issuing patents for everything from one-click shopping on the Internet to genes that are 99 percent nature-made. Often, companies get patents not with the intention of developing them, but rather with the intention of suing someone else who might (a practice known as patent trolling). Figure 8.1 shows the dramatic rise in number of patents issued over the past few decades. Consumers and taxpayers are burdened as well. Thanks to patents, pharmaceutical companies can charge monopoly prices for up to twenty years after introducing a new drug. This is said to benefit society by providing incentives for research, but according to the Center for Economic Policy Research, the benefit is greatly exceeded by the cost.


pages: 245 words: 64,288

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy by Pistono, Federico

3D printing, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, future of work, George Santayana, global village, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, illegal immigration, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, longitudinal study, means of production, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, post scarcity, QR code, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Rodney Brooks, selection bias, self-driving car, slashdot, smart cities, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, women in the workforce

I took an extreme case to illustrate the point, but there are countless examples that are more subtle, and yet much more insidious. Suppose I am a lawyer. I would like to work on cases of child abuse, workers rights, class actions against big industries polluting the environment and killing thousands – things that could help alleviate the pains and suffers of many people. But working on these cases does not pay nearly as much, so I turn to working for multinational corporations. I become a patent troll, harassing small companies that try to democratise access to cheap medicines. Cases like this one are not the exception, they are the norm. The idea that if you work hard and do your best, you will eventually succeed, is a somewhat compelling and romantic notion of the work ethic. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is no more than an illusion. It used the be different, and sometimes you can find inspiring exceptions.


pages: 232 words: 70,361

The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay by Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, labor-force participation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, patent troll, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, uber lyft, very high income, We are the 99%

It doesn’t sound very plausible, but as a matter of logic it’s not impossible that at least some of them are motivated by the lure of immense profits and work harder when taxes are low. Whatever their sensitivity to after-tax returns, however, it’s clear they are not the people most responsive to monetary gains. The sellers of zero-sum financial products, the creators of deadly pills, the promoters of tax dodges and the lawyers who certify them, the price gougers, the patent trolls, the makers of fake university diplomas: they will rise to the occasion and supply more of their labor when taxes fall. These solely profit-driven individuals will innovate more boldly—faster and faster, making it harder and harder for regulators to catch up, or for people to learn about their fraud before falling for a new one. If low top tax rates encourage innovation, they must galvanize rent extraction.


pages: 268 words: 76,702

The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us by James Ball

Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, Chelsea Manning, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, packet switching, patent troll, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Crocker, Stuxnet, The Chicago School, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, yield management, zero day

We’re pointing out you’re a government body, you don’t get to do that. Of course, we’re supporting the biggest of those cases in Trump’s Twitter case [in which the courts found the president was not able to block US citizens on the network while in office] that our friends the Knight Foundation13 are doing. We have a bunch of patentee cases where we’re supporting people who are fighting back against patent trolls. There’s a lot of litigation.’ Given Cohn came to the EFF’s executive directorship via a role as its general counsel and legal director, it’s unsurprising litigation takes up so much of her time – but it’s not all the EFF does in trying to fight for its vision of the internet. As well as some conventional activism, the EFF builds its own technology to try to help activist users take privacy issues into their own hands.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

While most patent law is exclusive in nature—forbidding non-patent-holders from using a patented “method” without permission for a finite time period—patent law also conventionally involves an element of disclosure, where the inventor is forced to reveal the nature of his or her creation in technical detail. The disclosure is obviously partly designed to help enforce the restrictions in cases of patent infringement, but it was also intended to encourage good ideas to spread more freely, by making them part of the public record. Unfortunately, the modern emergence of patent trolls and squatters, supported by overzealous intellectual property lawyers, means that the protective side of patent law has dominated the connective side. 5 The same pattern appears in rain forests, precisely because there are so many organisms exploiting every tiny niche of the nutrient cycle. That efficiency is one of the reasons that clearing the rain forests is such a shortsighted move: the nutrient cycles in rain-forest ecosystems are so tight that the soil is usually very poor for farming—all the available energy has been captured on the way down to the earth. 6 Innovation, of course, is not the sole reason so much of the world defied the predictions of The Communist Manifesto and embraced the capitalist way of life.


pages: 302 words: 83,116

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, selection bias, South China Sea, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, William Langewiesche, women in the workforce, young professional

The company also acquires patents from outside inventors, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to solo geniuses toiling in basements. IV operates much like a private-equity firm, raising investment capital and paying returns when its patents are licensed. The company currently controls more than twenty thousand patents, more than all but a few dozen companies in the world. This has led to some grumbling that IV is a “patent troll,” accumulating patents so it can extort money from other companies, via lawsuit if necessary. But there is little hard evidence for such claims. A more realistic assessment is that IV has created the first mass market for intellectual property. Its ringleader is a gregarious man named Nathan, the same Nathan we met earlier, the one who hopes to enfeeble hurricanes by seeding the ocean with skirted truck tires.


pages: 270 words: 79,180

The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, Joan Didion, Kenneth Arrow, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Y Combinator

The Fair Trade movement has tried to protect smallholder farmers in the developing world from precisely such middlemen,36 who in Latin American countries are known by the wolfish moniker “coyotes.”37 Middlemen can prey on unsuspecting buyers, too, as when some retailers in the Fair Trade supply chain take advantage of the naiveté of Western consumers by charging markups for the fair trade label that are far higher than what growers receive.38 In general, anyone who preys on the vulnerable or ill-informed fits the bill: in banking, it’s lenders to the desperate, from mafia-style loan sharks to the predatory lenders who exploit the elderly and the disabled.39 In high tech, it’s patent aggregators, also known as patent trolls—companies that build up portfolios of patents not to ease patent licensing to firms that create products but to threaten alleged infringers with costly lawsuits.40 In academia, it’s predatory publishers, those with no scholarly credentials masquerading as distributors of legitimate journals.41 A snake in the grass is still a snake, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf—only more dangerous.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

Leadership is something you develop over time. You have to embrace the idea of being a leader, then get followers to support you. You can’t put a price on advice like that. The other investor/judge at the San Jose pitch event was to be Istvan Joyner, a computer science PhD and former Google middle manager turned VC. Joyner worked for a low-profile $100 million investment fund owned by an alleged “patent troll,” InterDigital, Inc., although the company disputes this characterization. This litigious outfit made hundreds of millions of dollars a year by acquiring patents—more than twenty thousand in all, “including the fundamental technologies that enable wireless communications”—then licensing the right to use those technologies to companies such as Apple and Samsung. Or else. I knew that Manny and Istvan would be harsher critics than the jury of peers I’d faced at Startup Weekend.


pages: 297 words: 83,651

The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour

4chan, anti-communist, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Cal Newport, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Google Chrome, Google Earth, hive mind, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, patent troll, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Rat Park, rent-seeking, replication crisis, sentiment analysis, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Perhaps it’s telling that this happened around 2010–11, just when the social industry platforms went stratospheric. Thanks in part to the spread of smartphone ownership, Twitter gained a hundred million active monthly users for the first time, whereas Facebook was close to gaining a billion monthly users. Since then, trolls have been blamed for everything from hate crime to sharing leaked nude images on the internet, the term metastasizing so that there can now be everything from ‘gendertrolls’ to ‘patent trolls’. Politicians often use the term to deride their social media critics, which at its most cynical works to deprive the criticism of its political substance. Previously, the role of internet folk devil was occupied by spammers, stereotypically represented as a Nigerian man trying to con a little old lady out of her savings, despite the fact that most spamming came out of the United States. Anti-spammer vigilantes often targeted Nigerian men for sexual humiliation in ways that were classically racist.26 Fittingly, since it is also a tactic of war, trolling is represented instead through reheated Cold War stereotypes about meddling Russians, in a way that serves Washington’s traditional self-image as a defender of a liberal and open internet.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

Projects of this scale and ambition are in fact hindered by market-based constraints, since a sober analysis of their viability in capitalist terms reveals them to be profoundly underwhelming.15 In addition, some social benefits (those offered by an Ebola vaccine, for example) are left unexplored because they have little profit potential, while in some areas (such as solar power and electric cars) capitalists can be seen actively impeding progress, lobbying governments to end green-energy subsidies and implementing laws that obstruct further development. The entire pharmaceuticals industry provides a particularly devastating illustration of the effects of intellectual property monopolisation, while the technology industry is increasingly plagued by patent trolling. Capitalism therefore misattributes the sources of technological development, places creativity in a straitjacket of capitalist accumulation, constrains the social imagination within the parameters of cost–benefit analyses and attacks profit-destroying innovations. To unleash technological advancement, we must move beyond capitalism and liberate creativity from its current strictures.16 This would begin to liberate technologies away from their current purview of control and exploitation, and towards the quantitative and qualitative expansion of synthetic freedom.


pages: 417 words: 97,577

The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition by Jonathan Tepper

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Bob Noyce, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, diversification, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, full employment, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google bus, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, income inequality, index fund, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, late capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, means of production, merger arbitrage, Metcalfe's law, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, passive investing, patent troll, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, prisoner's dilemma, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, undersea cable, Vanguard fund, very high income, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

Regulation, bureaucracy, and legal prohibitions have made it difficult if not impossible for many patients in the United States to get access to cheap, competitive generic drugs even after patents expire. Faster approval of generics, and the importation of generics from Canada and Europe must be allowed to promote competition. Congress should remove patent protection for areas that are rife with abuse. Almost half of all patents are for things like software and business methods that have been abused by “patent trolls” who drive up costs for producers and consumers. Shareholders Workers must be granted shares so that labor can become owners of capital. The gap between labor and capital comes in large part because the vast majority of Americans do not own any meaningful shares in companies. Until the fruits of the economy are shared with workers, the benefits of markets will only go to CEOs, managers, and the very wealthy.


pages: 408 words: 108,985

Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Airbnb, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, basic income, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, business cycle, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, deindustrialization, discovery of DNA, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, gig economy, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, market fundamentalism, mini-job, moral hazard, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open economy, patent troll, pension reform, price mechanism, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, zero-sum game

Innovation can also be mired in conflicting patent claims. In the field of technology, innovators often have to wade through what has come to be called a patent thicket. A patent thicket emerges when large corporations have the resources to acquire a large number of patents, not to use them for research or to make new products, but simply to prevent other firms from entering the market and competing. Worse are patent trolls who acquire intellectual property rights solely for the purpose of making money by suing infringers. Today’s intellectual property regimes in Europe are not well designed. Their poor structure reflects corporate interests more than broader public interests. In a twenty-first-century economy, the market for innovation, or more particularly, for the knowledge behind intellectual property, is one of the most important markets.


pages: 401 words: 109,892

The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets by Thomas Philippon

airline deregulation, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, commoditize, crack epidemic, cross-subsidies, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, gig economy, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, intangible asset, inventory management, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, law of one price, liquidity trap, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, price discrimination, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

One model suggests that returns to scale are about the same today as they were in the past, and another model suggests they might be about 5 percent higher. Few industries show signs of returns to scale significantly above one. There is also no reason to think that intangible assets are more likely to create positive externalities than tangible ones. Patents are a prime example of intangible assets. Many patents today, and most of the litigation surrounding them, come from patent trolls. They abuse the system and create negative externalities. Another example is market research and advertising, or marketing more generally. These have become more important in the digital economy, yet they contain a higher fraction of zero-sum activities than other types of research and development because the gains of one firm are directly related to the losses of another. This is not to say that there are no examples of positive externalities in the digital economy.


pages: 540 words: 119,731

Samsung Rising: The Inside Story of the South Korean Giant That Set Out to Beat Apple and Conquer Tech by Geoffrey Cain

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double helix, Dynabook, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Internet of things, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, patent troll, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

Remove a component or a piece of software under a patent dispute, and the entire phone stops working. Apple had taken advantage of this pitfall, arguing it owned what were in fact generic software features, and the black rectangle shape of a smartphone, in order to shut out competition. “Isn’t it simply unworthy of such a great company,” asked the popular patent blogger Florian Mueller, “to engage in behavior that increasingly resembles the conduct of patent trolls who seek to extract undue leverage from weak and dubious patents?” Yet that success came in the wake of a significant marketing pullback. Todd Pendleton’s successors at Samsung struggled to line up anything nearly as creative or effective as their previous campaigns. Casey Neistat, on his popular YouTube vlog after the Oscars in 2016, revealed that Samsung was “gonna have me skateboard down the aisle, past Leonardo [DiCaprio], taper down the aisle and jump on the stage holding their new 360 camera in my hand during the broadcast.”


pages: 476 words: 125,219

Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy by Robert W. McChesney

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, American Legislative Exchange Council, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Brooks, death of newspapers, declining real wages, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of journalism, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, income inequality, informal economy, intangible asset, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, patent troll, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, Saturday Night Live, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the medium is the message, The Spirit Level, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, yellow journalism

Jodie Griffin of Public Knowledge argues that the government-approved deal carving up the ISP market by the phone and cable giants discussed in chapter 4 will make it possible for them to pool patents and have a “monopoly over foundational technologies for the next generation of internet access services.” See Jodie Griffin, “Verizon, Comcast, and the Patent Wars,” Public Knowledge, July 27, 2012, publicknowledge.org/blog/verizon-comcast-and-patent-wars. 27. Porter, “Tech Suits Endanger Innovation.” As Porter points out, there is now an entire industry of “patent trolls,” whose only business is to buy patents and sue for royalties. See also Vance, “Hiring a Mercenary.” 28. Tim Wu, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (New York: Knopf, 2010), 290–91. 29. Peter Decherney, Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), 215. 30. Wu, Master Switch, 292. 31. John Naughton, What You Really Need to Know About the Internet: From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg (London: Quercus, 2012), 279, 285. 32.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, zero-sum game

Also at the UN, Security Council Resolution 1441—used to justify invading Iraq—seems to have been designed to be ambiguous enough to both support and oppose the use of force. More generally, loopholes are ways institutional pressure is subverted by defectors to do things it wasn't originally intended to do. Think of patent law, originally intended to protect inventors but now used by corporations to attack other corporations, or by patent trolls to extort money out of corporations. Or the legal profession, originally intended to serve justice but now used as an offensive weapon. Or stocks, originally intended to provide capital for companies but now used for all sorts of unintended purposes: weird derivatives, indexes, short-term trading, and so on. These are all defections. Either the law should be effective, or it shouldn't exist.


pages: 460 words: 131,579

Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and Their Ideas Have Changed the World—for Better and for Worse by Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Black Swan, blood diamonds, borderless world, business climate, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, George Gilder, global supply chain, industrial cluster, intangible asset, job satisfaction, job-hopping, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, Naomi Klein, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Norman Macrae, patent troll, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

So America has a huge head start over the rest of the world when it comes to entrepreneurship. But two things are beginning to erode its lead—one negative and one positive. The negative is that the United States is currently facing a striking number of threats to its remarkable entrepreneurial ecology. The legal system can be burdensome or even destructive. One of the biggest new problems comes from “patent trolls”—trial lawyers who bring cases against companies for violating this or that trumped-up patent. The tax system is so complicated that many companies devote time and ingenuity to filling out tax forms that would be better spent on business. And, thanks to a combination of the “war on terrorism” and rising xenophobia, the American immigration system has turned into a nightmare: rather than trying to attract the world’s best and brightest, the United States forces them to run an obstacle course.


pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land value tax, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

See also Leaver, A. (2013) ‘Growth in whose interests?’, Discover Society, 3, www.discoversociety.org/2013/12/03/growth-in-whose-interests/. 27 Ferguson, K. Everything is a remix. Video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAKa0AJHhL4. The implications of our debt to existing knowledge are elaborated further in Part Two. 28 Public Patent Foundation (2011) ‘Organic seed v Monsanto’, http://www.pubpat.org/monsanto-seed-patents.htm. 29 ‘Patent trolls’ are even worse – they patent things invented by others but not yet patented and then threaten small and medium-sized businesses with costly law suits (Bob Jessop, personal communication). 30 Bamfield, L. and Horton, T. (2009) ‘Understanding attitudes to tackling economic inequality’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/attitudes-tackling-economic-inequality-full.pdf. 31 BBC News (2012) ‘Premier league clubs climb to new highs’, 31 May, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18248540. 32 Rosen, S. (1981) ‘The economics of superstars’, American Economic Review, 71(5), pp 845–58.


pages: 580 words: 168,476

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, declining real wages, deskilling, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jobless men, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, very high income, We are the 99%, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

We talk about the importance of intellectual property, but we have designed an expensive and unfair intellectual property regime that works more to the advantage of patent lawyers and large corporations than to the advancement of science and small innovators.40 Large firms can trespass on the intellectual property rights of smaller ones almost with impunity, knowing that in the ensuing legal fight they can outgun them. Rogue patent trolls (law firms) can buy sleeping patents (patents that have not yet been used to bring products to the market) at a low price, and then when a firm is successful in the same field, claim trespass, and threaten to shut it down as a form of extortion. That’s what happened to Research in Motion, the producer of the popular BlackBerry, which became the target of a patent suit from “patent-holding company” NTP, Inc.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Soaring levels of hope had been pinned on both processes and when neither panned out, would-be planet hackers came out of their labs, positioning even the most seemingly outlandish ideas as the only realistic options left—especially with a world economic crisis making costly energy transformations seem politically untenable. The Pinatubo Option has become a media favorite thanks in large part to the work of Nathan Myhrvold, the excitable former Microsoft chief technology officer who now runs Intellectual Ventures, a company that specializes in eclectic high-tech inventions and is often described as a vehicle for patent trolling.12 Myhrvold is a made-for-TV character—a child prodigy turned physicist turned tech star, as well as an avid dinosaur hunter and wildlife photographer. Not to mention a formally trained amateur cook who spent millions researching and co-writing a six-volume bible on molecular gastronomy. In 2009, Myhrvold and his team unveiled details for a contraption they called the “StratoShield,” which would use helium balloons to suspend a sulfur dioxide–spraying tube thirty kilometers into the sky.