So, yes: I wrote “a fairy tale.” Well, sort of. As I noted in the “first installment” on Monday, a bunch of things came together all at once—including a Sunday morning when I had a little extra time. So I cued up this story of how the Behemoth Tech companies became big and powerful because of their imaginative use of chips. But as time passes, innovation can be hard to replicate.
And the story continues …
Read Part I: The Birth of an Idea, the Growth of an Industry
Part II: The Path of Innovation Leads to Competition
And so it came to pass that as the B-Techs grew and expanded, their ability to continue innovating with their toys began to wane.
Sure, they continued to make changes and updates, and the people continued to enjoy them. But increasingly these changes were not really new. They were incremental, like combinations of old toy elements or upgrades such as from four megapixels to eight megapixels. You know. Stuff like that.
Markets being competitive (although sometimes it doesn’t seem that way), it came to pass that the B-Techs increasingly became the target of a spritely new crew of smaller innovators who developed ideas of their own. These New Innovators dreamed of making new and improved toys, just like B-Techs. In fact, they often wanted to partner with the B-Techs, but the B-Techs shunned them as not worthy.
So, when the time came to protect their own innovations, these New Innovators decided they would go and seek the legal protections that were available for inventors.
They wrote down “claims,” and made detailed drawings called “exhibits,” and went to a place called the City of Magnificent Intentions or CiMI (pronounced “see-me”), where they applied for patents (and even copyrights and trademarks, too) from a big office called the PTO. And so these little innovators became patentees.
It was all very above board. All very legal and proper.
But the B-Techs didn’t see it that way. They didn’t see it that way at all. They saw these New Innovators, the patentees, as pesky rebels, and as a real threat to their domination of the toy world. Even though the New Innovators had followed all the rules, done all their due diligence, disclosed all known prior art, written detailed claims, and come up with very good drawings of their novel inventions, the B-Techs didn’t care.
The B-Tech’s frustration became so intense that many leaders were heard proclaiming, just like nasty Bolingbroke in Shakespeare’s play:
Who shall it be that rids us rebel fire—
These pesky patentees? Infringe, you say?
We face such terr’ble inconvenience
And cannot rule the world as wont with such
As patent holders. Enough! Now people
Will not worship us as they should—
No longer will they want our toys.
We must act.
Okay, so they really didn’t speak in blank verse. But that was the sentiment.
It was time for the B-Techs to hatch a plan. A big nefarious plan. And that’s what they did.
Stay tuned for Part III: The B-Techs Hatch a Pernicious Plan.