Perkins Promotes IP in Separate Address
ASPEN, COLORADO - Nathan Myhrvold, chief executive officer of Intellectual Ventures, emphasized yesterday at The Progress & Freedom Foundation's 11th Annual Aspen Summit the importance of supporting invention as a separate, independent entity from product development. In a luncheon address, he said the patent process isn't as flawed as some believe, and warned against making changes that would be unnecessary. Later that day at the Chairman's Dinner, Kleiner Perkins co-founder Tom Perkins made a strong defense for intellectual property rights.
Myhrvold's address highlighted the importance of inventions in the technology industry. The former Microsoft chief technology officer drew parallels between the development of the software industry, which was once thought of as an unprofitable industry if separate from the hardware industry, and the industry of invention itself, which are both based on intellectual property. He expressed the importance of creating an "Invention Capital Model," much like the venture capital model of today, and he praised what Tom Perkins did in developing the Silicon Valley venture model. Myhrvold described intellectual property as "America's best asset," which needs to be supported and fostered independently from the business of product development.
In keeping with the conference's theme, "Building a Digital Ownership Society," Myhrvold addressed what he called the "Myths of Patent Reform". These myths included an increase in patent litigation, the abundance of "patent trolls," the prevalence of "bad patents," patents are primarily registered to protect products, patents hurt innovation, and small or independent inventors are of no importance to the technology industry. Citing numerous statistics, Myhrvold argued that these myths have no basis in fact and must not drive any future patent reform.
Perkins closed this year's Aspen Summit with an entertaining address that included anecdotes on the birth of the venture capital industry in Silicon Valley. Perkins also made clear his support for intellectual property, including patents, and praised Myhrvold for his work there. He also expressed frustration with the overly restrictive Sarbanes-Oxley law on corporate accounting and governance, and voiced disappointment that the Financial Accounting Standards Board had succeeded in their effort to mandate the expensing of stock options. Perkins said it was likely someone would come up with a way around the FASB rule and find a way to continue the recruitment possible before the rule.
PFF's Aspen Summit, the premiere gathering for policymakers, academia, and executives in the technology industry, concluded later in the evening with the Chairman's dinner and address, featuring Tom Perkins, Co-Founder and Director Emeritus of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. More information is available on the PFF web site.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.