Recently I saw one of Intel’s new TV commercials, oddly enough as I was standing in line at Dunkin Donuts waiting for a coffee. It was playing on the TV positioned perfectly for everyone in line to see, no doubt taking your mind off the wait. I thought this commercial was so awesome I grabbed my cell phone and called my office phone number to remind myself to write a blog post about Intel, the commercial and how inventors are indeed rock stars! As an inventor myself, and a patent attorney who comes in contact with inventors from all walks of life, levels of experience and technology backgrounds, I thought to myself that this commercial is completely brilliant. Way to go Intel, and thanks for making it cool to be an inventor!
The inventor profiled in this original Intel commercial is Ajay Bhatt, who is presently an Intel Fellow and Chief Client Architect. His biography on the Intel website does not mention his “rock star” status, and is rather dry really. He has no doubt achieved important heights while working with Intel, but the only paragraph of his bio that even mentions USB technology, which the commercial highlights as the reason for his rock star status, says:
Bhatt is an industry-recognized expert in the area of I/O technologies. At Intel, Bhatt has been instrumental in driving definition and development of broadly adopted technologies such as USB, Accelerated Graphics Port, PCI Express, Platform Power management architecture and various chipset enhancements. Bhatt joined Intel in 1990 as a senior staff architect on the chipset architecture team in Folsom.
Obviously, those who came up with this commercial are not responsible for the Intel website, or perhaps Intel wants to just keep a low profile on its own website and not overly play up Bhatt and his contribution. That is unfortunate though, because this Intel TV commercial is something that is so easy to understand. Even politicians should be able to comprehend the message, which would be very welcome indeed since they do not seem all that interested in pursuing patent reform or an agenda that is calculated to succeed in jump starting the economy and helping inventors and small businesses do what they have always done during recessions; namely lead the path forward to the creation of new industries and the development of new technologies that create high paying jobs for American workers.
I have been writing for months now that in order for the economy to get out of the doldrums brought on by the mortgage crisis, the housing crisis, the lack of leadership in Washington D.C. crisis and the banking crisis, we need to unleash the inventive power of America. During recessions creative people invent, incorporate, file patent applications, get patents and find funding to build businesses and hire employees. The economic activity that inventing can create is staggering, but so much is wrong with the patent system that I wonder whether innovation can provide the answer it always does to economic downturns. There is certainly inventing going on, businesses are forming, patent applications are being filed, but patents are not issuing quick enough and that means no funding is available, or when available vanishes when patents are not issued or take to long to issue. Something needs to be done, and very soon.
The Patent Office is taking important steps to once again issue patents, and are even working on doing that in a relevant time frame, but the problem created under the leadership of PTO Directors Rogan and Dudas has left the patent system in crisis mode. What Congress needs to do is step up to the plate, recognize that inginuity and innovation can lead to economic growth, and fund the Patent Office to a level required to dig into the backlog and issue patents sooner rather than later.
We all know that patent reform is dying, which is a good thing. It will go the way of patent reform from years past, including last year. There will be no great funeral, no pronouncement of death, no last rights administered. Patent reform will just vanish off into the great abyss that is Capitol Hill, never to be mentioned again until some point in time when proponents believe this time it is for real and we really have the votes. I am not going to hold my breath. I have heard that all before, and I am sure I will hear it all again. This so-called patent reform was terrible, didn’t address any of the real issues facing the Patent Office and would have created more work for the Patent Office, further damaging the patent system by expanding patent pendency and perhaps lowering the allowance rate.
Now that Intel is publicly making it seem cool to be an inventor, what inventors need to do is stand up and be counted. You need to write to Congress, write to the President and let them know that it is about time that they undertake actions that are calculated to succeed, and calculated to help inventors, entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-up companies. After all, inventors are rock stars! Perhaps this newly appreciated pop-culture approved rock star status could help the cause, who knows? It certainly can’t hurt.