CASE 1308, Texting While Driving, ended its three-week run with no decisive conclusion, though public response to the columns was immediate and furious. Simply put, there is no technology, both in cars or cell phones, that cannot be disabled by drivers.
Since TWD is a form of addiction, that makes it almost impossible to eliminate TWD other than self-discipline coupled with thorough law enforcement. I feel great sympathy to many parents who emailed me expressing their serious concern for the safety of their children. Sorry, but we just have to wait for technology to advance or people to voluntarily stop texting while driving. And that includes your teenage and college kids.
Monetizing One's Patents:
About once a week I receive an inquiry or two from those 99 percent inventors about their one big problem. That is how to monetize their patent, once they get one. Applying for a patent is a rather expensive process, and if you are not an employee of a large corporation, you have to pay the expense all by yourself. Let's say that comes to an average of $15,000 until a patent finally gets granted. Now what? That is the question inventors instantly end up asking, and one they need the answer to very soon afterward.
A patent is perishable goods with a finite shelf life of say 17 years. You might say that's a long time compared with apples and bananas in the produce section of a supermarket. Fruits and vegetables have a much shorter shelf life, but they are produced continuously through a year. A patent is a unique license granted by the government exclusively to its holder. However, a patent ages fast through its 17-year journey. First of all, technology changes very quickly. A new concept having some positive monetary value today quickly fades to an average uninteresting concept with disappearing monetary value.
The biggest problem inventors face is the marketing of their inventions. In fact many small time inventors get discouraged after receiving a U.S. patent and being unable to do a thing with it. Let's just assume that the patent is the result of the inventor identifying a problem, and developing an appropriate solution for it. And that means the problem isn't unique to his perception, but common to many other people and/or situations specific to the industry or consumer market. So, why aren't there any parties coming out of the woodwork who want to buy, license or do both?
This question, a very good and natural one, puzzles almost all 99 percent of inventors after plunking down their hard-earned money to patent processes. Elation of receiving a patent with that impressive parchment certificate with red ribbon soon dies out and a long silence starts. The world doesn't come banging your door down. Nobody seems to care that you got a patent, and the long silent period of 17 years starts.
Sam Asano will be conducting an Inventing 101 lecture at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Rye Public Library, 581 Washington Road, Rye (964-8401). He will speak about his career, items he worked on and method in inventing that spans 54 years. A Q&A will follow.
Shintaro (Sam) Asano of New Castle, who speaks and writes English as a second language, was named by MIT in 2011 as one of the 10 most influential inventors of the 20th century who improved our life. He is a businessman and an inventor in the field of electronics and mechanical systems, who is credited as the original inventor of today's portable fax machine. He also developed a data tablet used in the retail point of sale to capture customer signatures when credit cards are used. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.