Patent reform starts with bold pioneers

Tesla Visit 2

You got to hand it to Elon Musk CEO of Tesla motors. He just opened up the patents they had on the electric car for anyone to use.

When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.

So it sounds pretty interesting so far… Specially the stifle progress part.

Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous. Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.

We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.

This is pretty incredible and its amazing to see and hear, bold and  altruistic sound decisions like this from the very top.

Google along while ago talked about Patent reform but then they bought Motorola’s mobile patents and we heard nothing more till very recently.

Maybe one day we’ll see many more bold moves like Tesla’s?

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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