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May 3, 2009


Former Intel honcho Andy Grove, now 72, but still sucking corporate teat, had a very public senior moment over patents: "Patents themselves have become products. They're instruments of investment traded on a separate market, often by speculators motivated by the highest financial return on their investment." "You should not grant a monopoly to people who don't produce."

Mr. Grove, having received a lifetime achievement award at the 37th Annual National Inventors Hall of Fame ceremony, thought it a good time to kick inventors in the teeth.

Mr. Grove reminisced:

The most important invention of our industry, the invention of the transistor, was licensed by AT&T for $25,000. This allowed the transistor industry to develop and become a flourishing manufacturing industry in the United States.

By the time the integrated circuit arrived, the industry largely operated by cross licensing between companies so it really didn't matter, if the (Robert) Noyce patent or (Jack) Kilby patent prevailed--the result was the two companies could go on do their work.

The problem with intellectual property, Mr. Grove laments, is that it's, well, intellectual property.

Struggling to grasp concepts, Mr. Grove also displayed woeful ignorance of financial dynamics:

The patent product brings financial derivatives to mind. Derivatives have a complex relationship with an underlying asset. While there's nothing wrong with them in principle, their unfettered use has damaged the financial services industry and possibly the entire economy.

Unfettered use of derivatives wasn't the problem Andy. The problem was that the underlying assets weren't properly valued. The bean counters were in over their heads. And the would-be regulators, the government, who never considered stepping in until the shit was smeared all over the fan, has had all the sense to throw untold trillions to bankrupt car makers and banks, instead of reviving the economy by making sure people could stay in their homes and maintain basic human dignity.

It's as if AT&T were so stupid to license patented transistor technology for only $25,000 when it was clearly worth a lot more.

Grove drove his point home down a garbled gravel road:

Patents have become derivatives of the invention and have a life of their own.

Do these patent instruments put us on a similar road? I fear our patent system increasingly serves those who invest in the patent products.

Intel has a long and colorful history of repeated antitrust actions and attempting to crush its competitors with patents. Intel maintains its market share and premium-priced products only by virtue of its patents. Old hardball player Andy Grove is a garden-variety shameless American corporate hypocrite. That's his lifetime achievement.

Sources: Bloomberg.com; Wall Street Journal; cnet

Any intelligent person has to question the credibility of the mainstream press, that across-the-board reports this tripe uncritically.

Posted by Patent Hawk at May 3, 2009 11:20 PM | Patents In Business


The gang of the giant high tech leviathans, aka "the Coalition for Patent Piracy" is corrupting the nation while shoving this fraudulent "reform" down everybody's throat...

I truly hope the opposition to this epic and potentially catastrophic swindle, which at least on paper seem stronger and more influential then the big tech Robber Barons, will not drop the ball in this blood war, or else we can kiss the US as we know it, goodbye...

Posted by: Regata De Blanc at May 4, 2009 3:31 AM

I wish everyone was paying attention.

Grove's goal is to protect the status quo.

When Moore and Noyce quit Fairchild Semiconductor to form Intel -- they would've been crushed without strong patent protection.

Today's new strategy: prevent Intel (and every other entrenched interest) from becoming the next Fairchild Semiconductor -- largely forgotten as unapproved upstarts do it faster, better & cheaper.

This isn't just a patent issue - it is pervasive. Pay attention, people. Patent is just the one battle you happen to be close to. Agents of "change" are really agents of "status quo."

Posted by: Anon at May 4, 2009 5:32 AM

OK, the Hungarian Jew András István Gróf escaped from his communist country and came to Silicon Valley just at the right time to catch the wave...
Now he looks down upon us (the unlucky ones who came much later and still struggle to make our own American dream a reality) from his Hall of Fame throne and laments patents being bad...

Sorry András, you had your American dream, now move over and let others have it too !

Why would anybody in the world (other than congress critters) listen to corporate stooge ?

Posted by: angry dude at May 4, 2009 6:09 AM

Idk hawk, you're always upset at those that are indeed just as "in the know" as you are having a different opinion. Personally I'd pay attention to an old timer like this.

Posted by: 6000 at May 4, 2009 9:57 AM


Thanks for your comment. It seems that you too are struggling with concepts. In other words, you don't seem to be catching on to what's going on.

What does "Idk" mean, if anything?

Posted by: Patent Hawk at May 4, 2009 10:32 AM

idk = i don't know.

"In other words, you don't seem to be catching on to what's going on."

On the whole I think I am rather catching on to what is going on. What is going on is people coming up with "inventions" aka "ideas" akin to ones that I have every day of my life, and then putting them down on a sheet of paper and claiming a monopoly over it for having publicly disclosed the idea. While this is going on, other people are attempting to come up with ideas AND bring those ideas to me in some practical form. I, as a consumer, or "the public" have little love for the person who first wrote down the idea, and have lots of love for the person who brings me the idea. This is in every case save one. Where the idea was well beyond what would be expected of those of ordinary skill, and would never even have a slim chance of making it to me if the person who wrote it down didn't write it down. What you aren't catching on to is that my feelings on the matter are the way most people are starting to feel on the matter.

As the old man points out, and according to the almighty knowledge of the Google, innovator is thus defined:


As you can tell the majority of the definitions pertain to the person that brings the idea to market, as opposed to the single definition relating to people inventing the idea itself.

One of my posts to your lunatic posting was "held for review by blog owner". I'll repost it later if I don't see it show up. But that's just fyi (for your information) so you know that you may have more responses pending that are awaiting your approval. idk, maybe my posting over on that thread had some bad words or something in it.

Posted by: 6000 at May 4, 2009 1:13 PM


I don't have any pending comments from you. I try to check daily for any pending comments. Why they show up there is a mystery to me.

If it hits the filtered spam folder, it will get wiped. I literally get over 500 spam comments a day, so just delete them.

The blog software is not too good, per my 'about' page rant.

Sorry. Please repost your lunatic comment.


As to your desired requirement that a patent holder manufacture/market/sell their claimed invention, I can only reiterate your struggling with concepts, and thinking through their practical implications.

The way that most people feel is irrelevant to what makes good public policy. Most people don't feel like paying taxes...

Posted by: Patent Hawk at May 4, 2009 1:44 PM

...and in other news, Andy is avoiding hypocrisy by filing suit to force Intel to allow anyone to use any patented inventions they've come up with that they're not using...'cause he doesn't want Intel being one of the dreaded "NPEs."

Let's all be sure to throw the piles of big cos unused patents & apps at the feet of the courts as part of our battles over that which is legally and morally ours.

Fact is, the big boys are many magnitudes greater NPEs (nay "trolls") than any of us small entity inventors will ever in our lifetimes be...

Posted by: Steve at May 4, 2009 2:02 PM

6000 writes "One of my posts to your lunatic posting was "held for review by blog owner"."

You probably forgot to type 'patent'.

Posted by: John Prosecutor at May 4, 2009 2:04 PM

"The way that most people feel is irrelevant to what makes good public policy. Most people don't feel like paying taxes... "

As to "liking" to pay taxes I think that you are perhaps wrong. As to "liking" to pay taxes that are grossly disproportionate with what we get for the money and what we actually feel like are services we need from the gov. then your position is likely justified.

And that's why when Ron Paul (or someone like him but with slightly less radical views on some key issues, and who is younger) gets into the white house and is accompanied by a congress full of contemporaries feeling the same taxes, and gov in general may just take a sharp dive. You may have noticed that later Gen X and Gen Yers don't really subscribe all that well to you old folks business as usual.

And in much the same way, the issue of patents stands before us.

"The way that most people feel is irrelevant to what makes good public policy."

What makes good public policy? We're not even having a discussion about what good public policy is, or what will make good public policy. We're having a discussion about what public policy is going to be silly hawk. The way most people feel is most certainly not irrelevant to what will make public policy. Keep your thoughts focused on the issue at hand.

I should add that I will grant you that perhaps the current regime is "good public policy". But at the same time, there's a chance that it isn't. Thankfully, for the purposes of our simple discussion, the answer to that that is irrelevant.

Then watch what happens copyright law as a prequel. At the very least I can say with 100% certainty that the penalties will go down. Far down. Within the next 10 years I'll wager. Could be 20, at the latest.

Posted by: 6000 at May 4, 2009 5:15 PM

(Yes, yoU Don't Know Anything.)

The topic was Andy Grove and his corporate double standard speak.

Since when did the topic become you?
Err ... unless you are the Andy, in which case, TEE (That Explains Everything).

So let's forget about you (gladly) and about Andy (the corporate shill) and let's talk about a company that holds hundreds of patents but fails to practice each and every one of them; IOW, a NPEE (in other words, a Not Practicing Everything Entity). If they constantly harp about NPEs, shouldn't they walk exactly along the talk that they preach by proving that they directly produce and sell products that provide the public with each and every "innovation" covered by each and every enforceable patent they hold at this moment?

IOW, if you're going to talk the NPEE talk, you need to walk the PEE walk (the walk of a Practicing Everything Entity). Otherwise, YFOS (which you and they are anyway). Nuff said.

Posted by: step back at May 5, 2009 1:38 AM

"or else we can kiss the US as we know it, goodbye... "

That may have already happened when the idiots of Amerika elected a radical socialist.

Posted by: Just sayin' at May 5, 2009 2:11 AM

The discussion became about "me" (or rather "me" as being used in place of any member of the public) when hawk starts squawkin about Andy not grasping basic concepts.

In either event, nobody (and I do mean nobody) is wanting people to have to practice everything they patent, they want people to have to practice every patent they want to enforce. There is a difference. Learn it, then you may join the conversation without being nothing more than a waste of my time.

Posted by: 6000 at May 6, 2009 11:47 AM