If you have a great idea or invention that you think will benefit humanity, please consider open sourcing it, rather than copyrighting and patenting it. Another important aspect of this is that you consider working for someone who lets you keep ownership of your ideas. Many corporations want to own the “intellectual property” that you create. This is bad for humanity for many reasons, as you will come to see as I explore this claim further.

So many of the problems in our world are already solved except for the fact that patents have been buried in order to protect the existing power structure.  Take Stan Ovshinsky’s (Ovonic) NiMH battery for example, that Chevron has kept buried for almost 20 years.  This has been done because of something called “fiduciary responsibility.”

It is human nature to add value to the existing body of knowledge and work – to improve the quality of life for ourselves and those we associate with, often referred to as our “community.”

Corporations on the other hand, are not natural.  Their very existence threatens humankind’s survival.  Their only motive is profit.  They have no humanity despite any claims that they may make.  It is in fact the fiduciary responsibility of a corporation that inevitably drives it to do “the wrong thing” for the sake of profit.

The fiduciary responsibilities of a corporation’s board members includes

  • Avoiding conflicts of interest
  • Acting in the interest of the company rather than the member’s personal interest
  • Providing oversight to assure that all company business is transacted legally
  • Making decisions to protect the assets of the corporation.

These concepts can be explained more concretely.

  • Avoiding conflicts of interest.
    Do not get involved in anything which jeopardizes market share or profit.  Do whatever is possible to limit competitors ability to encroach on our business.
  • Acting in the interest of the company rather than the member’s personal interest.
    Do not allow one person’s conscience stop the Company from achieving it’s True Goal.  Systematically ignore and avoid constructive or critical feedback from members (and from the body of employees) that do not align with the company’s True Goal.
  • Providing oversight to assure that all company business is transacted legally.
    Comply with existing law, but if the Company wants to do something that is not currently legal, it should lobby, bribe or blackmail politicians of governments so that the activity is made legal.  Often times, these new laws are bad for the populations that are under the authority of those governments.  When that is the case, the lobbying efforts are done swiftly, without fanfare and without press coverage.  If deception is necessary to sway public opinion to the Company’s favor, so be it.
  • Making decisions to protect the assets of the corporation.
    This is the “True Goal” of every corporation.  To protect its balance sheet and to make PROFIT.  This is the goal to which all other goals submit.  

For the love of money is the root of all evil…

Since the true goal of any corporation is to protect assets and ensure profit, it’s especially important to pay attention to the first bullet point:  “Avoiding conflicts of interest.”  If an idea exists, even if the corporation can profit from it, it still has a fiduciary responsibility.  It must ensure that sufficient profit can be made from that idea to offset the loss of profits from the old ideas it controls an interest in.  This can’t always be done.

In the case of the Ovonic battery, for example, Chevron knew that licensing that patent for production of traction power / electric vehicle use would permanently damage their existing profit stream of selling oil.  It is easy to calculate that if each car need only to have one battery for the life of the car that Chevron and the entire oil/energy cartel would lose BIG.

So they arranged a takeover of Ovshinsky’s company.  It began with the EV1 project at GM, where GM invested heavily into Ovonic.  When GM gained a controlling interest, they sold the patents for the NiMH battery to Texaco who was almost immediately purchased by Chevron.  Chevron has kept a tight lid on the patents ever since.

It should be noted that Ovshinsky used the patent system to protect the invention of the NiMH battery!  Ovshinsky was a socialist in the sense that he wanted all humanity to benefit from the technology.  In many ways, he suffered a similar fate as Nikola Tesla.  He died without seeing his vision come to fruition.  For Ovshinsky, the patent system failed to make his vision a reality, and instead enabled his idealogical enemies to end up controlling the technology.  The very system he hoped would protect his idea ended up destroying it!  And he never saw it coming.

Important developments should not be kept under wraps. Ideas should be FREE!  Think for a moment, what if Stan Ovshinsky had released the technology in the public domain?  I am not saying he would have actually been able to do this back in his time.  In order to do this and be successful, some enabling technologies had to be born.  Fortunately, today, we have that technology.

Today, as a result of the Internet, we have crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  We have communications platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  For a few dollars a month, we can have our own professional looking websites.  Finally, for the first time in known human history, we truly have the world of knowledge available right at our fingertips.  We have all of the tools to make a revolutionary advancement in the history of mankind, but we need to carefully scrutinize some ideas from the old way of doing things, and we need to look at new ways to protect our ideas if we are going to see humanity graduate to the next level.

Perhaps the best way to protect an idea is to tell everyone about it.  The patent system enables corporations to own ideas.  It sounds good if you’re the owner of the idea, but if that idea threatens the assets or profits of a larger corporation, that corporation will eventually find or create a way to buy the patent and squash it.  It’s gang mentality dressed in a suit.  Refer back to the fiduciary responsibilities if you question this claim.

Moving forward, as we create new ideas and inventions, let’s seriously consider releasing our work as public domain or in the creative commons.  Rather than profit being our paramount virtue, let’s consider the benefit of mankind to be our highest responsibility instead.  Ideas can free humanity, but only if they can be free of the shackles of the patent system.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_R._Ovshinsky

http://www.localvoluntary.com/2013/05/stan-ovshinsky-a-hero-swindled/

http://biztaxlaw.about.com/od/glossaryf/g/fiduciary.htm

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html

http://creativecommons.org/about

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