Patent Pending...

OUR OFFICIAL PAPERWORK FROM THE USPTO!

OUR OFFICIAL PAPERWORK FROM THE USPTO!

Some believe patents protect functionality.  Others believe that they stifle innovation.  Any time a patent is enforced, there are winners and losers, whether it's the emerging start-up competing against industry giants for a foothold of the market, or established companies attempting to machete through the patent thicket. 

 

That's why, in 2015, a little over a year after I left Tesla, when Elon Musk proclaimed "Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology", it got everyone's attention.  He later doubled down on the statement that anyone can "just go ahead and use them", which seemed to fly in the face of the legal clause "in good faith".  But even Elon understands that one size does not fit all.  Solar City files patents, but they are not open.  SpaceX has very few patents in an effort to protect the technology from getting into the hands of it's biggest competitor, China.

 

The past few weeks, I have thought a lot about the place Enemy Tree, LLC sits.  We aren't Tesla trying to encourage the largest car companies in the world to get onboard with the electric car movement.  We also aren't SpaceX trying to stop any threats of competition in their tracks.  While I hope someday to be in a position to make such choices, these are still a ways off. 

 

Instead, Enemy Tree, LLC is closer to Solar City.  We have a great idea, but there are some other products that are similar.  The market is large enough that we believe our product can compete, but in the meantime, there is no harm taking the extra step to file a patent or two.  Which is why, a few weeks ago, I went to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Denver to file a provisional patent on one of our unique pieces of technology, in preparation for our latest development project.

 

Believe the hype; patents are everything the kids are talking about.  They are a lot of paperwork.  They are many hours of thinking through every application of your product, and then, painstakingly committing that those descriptions to paper with diagrams.  And once every "t" has been crossed and every "i" has been dotted, they are full of an immeasurable feeling of satisfaction at having completed the process and knowing, at least, for now that what has been created remains yours.

 

And yet, outside of what I need to do to protect the interests of my fledging start-up, and our yet to be announced new product, I remain conflicted about the value of patents.  How do you feel about patents?  What is the tipping point that allows a start-up to open patents or stop patenting all together?  

See the original post on the Enemy Tree, LLC™ website here: http://www.enemytree.com/news/2017/4/17/patent-pending 

Microblogging Project on Kickstarter & The Importance of Owning Your Content

Image Credit: Manton Reece & the Indie Microblogging project

Image Credit: Manton Reece & the Indie Microblogging project

Over the weekend I supported a Kickstarter project called "Indie Microblogging: owning your short-form writing". I heard about the project from a well known proponent of owning your content, developer Marco Arment. Marco has created one of the most well known podcasting apps, Overcast, along with being a part of creating a string of other hits over the years. His dedication to people owning their content is one of the big reasons he created Overcast, so that podcasts would't get consumed behind walls and so that people would lose control over their creations. It is then an obvious connection to his writing a blog about, and supporting, the Indie Microblogging project on Kickstarter. 

This idea of owning the content you create is one that is also very important to me. It is one of the core reason I created Mosaiscope™. And, the foundation of that is the core technology of RSS. See, the technology of RSS (Real Simple Syndication), was created so that the very large and open web could easily be brought together by allowing people to easily subscribe to websites and blogs with the click of a button. It is this same technology of RSS that is how podcasts work.

See, the way podcasts work is that through your podcast app, like Overcast (or Apple's Podcast app, or any others out there) you are actually subscribing to the RSS feed of the podcast. This layer of tech is hidden, but it is how it all works, and it keeps the content in the hands of the creators. This is the same for subscribing to websites and blogs through Mosaiscope™. You go to the Mosaiscope™ Store, find what you want to subscribe to, hit the "+" button and your subscribed (you can get a bit more technical and paste an RSS URL in the Mosaiscope™ search if we don't have the RSS feed you want to subscribe to, but I'll digress on that topic for now). 

In the end, the use of RSS allows the creators to keep control and ownership of their content on their websites. But, unfortunately, this is not where the majority of content seems to be available today. The majority of content is starting to concentrate with a few large companies behind closed-wall-systems. And, it's the convenience of these services that have made it this way. I mean, do any of us want to do more than we have to to find good content. Probably not, but that means many content producers have lost control/ownership of their content. 

This is why I supported the Indie Microblogging project, put together by Manton Reece, on Kickstarter. It is basically a Twitter-like product that allows you to create small snippets of content (microblogs) to be easily shared throughout the web, except you maintain ownership of it. And, just as good is that, it is based on RSS, which means that you can use Mosaiscope™, or any other RSS aggregator or reader you want, to easily keep up with what anyone who is microblogging is talking about. 

The service he is creating, called Micro.blog, will also allow you to cross-post to Twitter (since they are huge this will be important for creating traction), and will have all kinds of additional benefits. 

It's a small and simple addition to the endless sea of ways we can all create and share content, but it is significant enough to be supported, talked about, and used. It's another way we can start to take back control of our online content. In the end, it is your content and seems like a pretty good idea to maintain ownership of. 

As of this writing there are only 5 days left on the "Indie Microblogging: owning your short-form writing" Kickstarter project so head over there now and help a brother, and yourself, out!