Sunday, December 16, 2007

Patent Absurdity on Patents

Last night at a dinner party I heard that old comment that the oil companies are buying up all energy efficiency patents and sitting on them. I kept my mouth zipped up because I am not one to get into it with people I am not certain of how they are regarding such confrontations. I value the friendship more than trying to set them straight.

Patents have a finite lifetime. The longest any patent in the US is good for is 20 years. After the patent is up, anyone can manufacture the patented item. A buddy of mine holds a lucrative patent and it just lost protection other outfits are knocking off his idea and not paying him royalties.

If the inventions are truly usable and truly energy conserving (in a sensible fashion) then they will get utilized sooner or later, even IF the oil companies have bought the rights to the devices a big if as I think it hooey.

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