IT HAS been my strong and ever constant belief that manufacturing creates wealth of a nation most reliably. Sure, agriculture and mining are important sources of wealth creation. However, nothing beats manufacturing in employee numbers and their pay, ecological sustainability and stability of revenue. Back during the 1950s through the 1970s, every town in our country had some manufacturing businesses humming, and our middle class was happy, prosperous and stable. The prejudice against manufacturing as dirty, dead-end jobs compared to the white-collar workers in the air-conditioned offices neatly shuffling papers worked to un-popularize manufacturing.
Fast forward 50 years: Now America imports almost all manufactured goods including even such strategically and societally important items as aircraft, trains, automobiles, construction machineries, factory machine tools and a long list of other necessities. The result is that we have $18 trillion in debt, 17 percent under-employment and near 7 percent unemployment. In 50 years, America fell from the undisputed top of the world manufacturers' rank to just about nothing. What a decline!
Writing a column of inventions now wouldn't cure this situation overnight. However, somebody has to do it. Civilization is about invention. The person who invented a spear made out of stone 3.4 million years ago literally started this human civilization. So, why can't we get our people to invent more? Inventions start factories, and factories start more factories, and thus wealth is created faster.
So far so good? Well, there is this little nasty problem before people can freely invent. That is the fact that amateur inventors do not know the mechanism of how to get their concepts to workable systems and products, and even get them to patent.
I noticed one thing. Almost nobody has gone through from the original concept to patent application, patent argument with examiner, and finally the claim receives a patent. I receive many inquiries through email, and these inventors seem to have plunged into getting patents by spending their life savings on intellectual property lawyers. Furthermore, after they receive patents, they do not know how to monetize the patent, let alone let the world know about it.
In last week's column, I announced my own concept of a system that prevents texting while driving (TWD). This is called "publishing" or "public announcement," and that date is very important. Why? Because now, according to the current U.S. patent law, I have only one year to apply for a patent(s) — with a due date of Oct. 12, 2014.
If I hadn't announced the concept like I did, I would be applying for a provisional patent. The provisional patent would allow me to apply for the U.S. patent upon being allowed for a provisional patent, and this could be as long as one year. I thought that would be just too long a process for the purpose of this column.
Now readers can watch as we progress through the patent office system to finally arrive at a patent or two about the automatic prevention of TWD. This concept requires both modification to automobiles as well as writing an app for smart phones. This drama would be very interesting and beneficial for would-be inventors, as they don't have to spend any money of their own to see the process unfold in front of their very eyes.
Soon after my column appeared on the Internet or print, I received this email from a man calling himself Charles Kelly as shown below.
Charles Kelly, Kelly & Smith PC
I have some idea what this man is looking for or telling me, but obviously this sender doesn't wish to clarify. Now you are glimpsing the murky world of patents for the first time. You are witnessing this exciting patent world from the first-class seats.
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.