The America Invents Act Has Been Signed Into Law

I have written posts both on spurring innovation and the controversy over patents, two topics directly related to the recently singed into law America Invents Act.  The new law will shift the United States from granting patents to on the basis of whom was the first-to-invent to those who were the first-to-file. The reform also seeks simplify the process of granting patents, while intending to also increase development of new technologies that could benefit the economy. The move to the first-to-file system will align the U.S. with the method in use by the majority of other developed countries; however, it will be nearly 18 months before the law takes effect.

There is a great deal of speculation in the blogosphere and the media if the overhaul will have any significant impact, and I encourage those interested in the subject to search for the related stories.  Possible impacts I have come across inclue the creation of 12 million new jobs; however, it will be nearly two years before any actual effect the new law can be felt. In the short term the law only guarantees funding for the Patent Office.

On the subject, two related readings on patents and invention I have found interesting are professor Mark Lemley’s “The Myth of the Sole Inventor,” and the critique of his article by John Howells and Ron D. Katznelson.

It’s back to Starbucks, thanks to the CEO

My first taste of caffeinated goodness from Starbucks came in New Haven, Conn.  while tagging along with other high schoolers.  We were are all part of a few week long summer program taking place at a well known institution there, and were following the suggestion of others that we may find more than coffee across the street from the quad.  We were hoping to catch a glimpse of a fast, furious, and way out of our league movie star enrolled in that same institution; however, we never saw her, but I was quickly hooked to Starbucks.  My allegiance changed in the years to come, to lesser know but cheaper sources during my poor undergrad years.  Then to the more fair-trade local variety call Alterra during my grad-school days, and now to whatever I can find here in India – I haven’t seen a Starbucks yet despite their partnership with my current employer.  When I get home however it will be time for at least one cup of Starbucks brewed goodness thanks to Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO.

About two weeks ago I stumbled upon an article on CNNMoney called, “Starbucks CEO to DC: You’ve been cut off.”  Schultz, prompted by the debt crisis and political fighting surround it, decided to stop his contributions to political campaigns, a total of $183,650.  It was a decision that made sense to me, and while I am able to contribute no where near what Schultz has I could definitely follow suit.  Schultz decided that until politicians can act together, especially on issues that have a large impact like the debt crisis, he would stop supporting them.  After posting the article on my Facebook and Tweeting it I didn’t give that much more thought, but then I found myself engaged in a conversation with coworkers here in India about what is going on in the US.  They were equally as concerned/upset with things as I was because it has a direct effect on their lives.  So I did some more reading and noticed Schultz’s movement has gained some traction.  Not only have other CEOs from companies like NASDAQ and AOL joined in, but others have also written with further suggestions.  Then at the Seattle Times I found that a group on Facebook had started in reaction to Schultz’s letter and new website.

Blair Taylor, CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, recommends asking for “5 million Americans of every hue, economic background, political persuasion or geographical location, to sign a ‘no giving’ pledge as well.”

With quotes like Taylor’s above it is apparent that more business leaders are joining Schultz’s movement, now called Upward Spiral 2011, and offering their suggestions.  If any of this sounds interesting to you, or if you would like to read some of Schultz’s letters or so what people are saying visit the Facebook group or the Upward Spiral 2011 homepage.  I can’t predict what impact this will have, but on principle I can agree with trying to get people to work together and not against each other.

“This is a time for citizenship not partisanship.  It Is a time for action.”

-Howard Schultz