Friday, September 23, 2011

Patents: good for innovation or stifling?

The August 20 issue of The Economist includes an article entitled "Intellectual Property: Patent Medicine" which discusses many of the problems with the American patent system, most of which were not addressed or redressed by the latest "patent reform" legislation. Here's the alarming statistic:
In recent years, however, the patent system has been stifling innovation rather than encouraging it. A study in 2008 found that American public companies’ total profits from patents (excluding pharmaceuticals) in 1999 were about $4 billion—but that the associated litigation costs were $14 billion.
At times it seems for a small innovative business that the effort and costs involved with preparing and filing patents may not be supported by the benefits that accrue. Retaining ideas as trade secrets, or protected in other ways like via SBIR data rights, may be a better means to protecting a company's intellectual property.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Layoffs are not job creation!

So, with the news that Bank of America is laying off thousands of workers, it's difficult to understand the press by some of today's politicians to resist any effort to close tax loopholes, and require that citizens across the spectrum of incomes bear a fair share of the burden to patch up the nation's deficit and regain a strong footing moving forward. It's hard to see these large corporations as job creators as they are so often referred to. No, entrepreneurs and small businesses (many that grow into large businesses) are job creators. Multiple studies have shown that. New business creation is the most effective means to creating sustainable, and high-quality jobs. Counting minimum wage entry level positions as job creation is ludicrous! And coddling the behemoths that hire and fire in waves is not protecting or supporting job growth in this country.

Let's put forth a plan that will work: let's forge an Entrepreneurial America!

Tax Receipt

A year ago, I posted a note on Third Way's proposal that tax payers receive a receipt for how their money was spent. Recently I noticed that they've posted a tax receipt calculator on their website. Plug in your taxes paid, and a rather thorough itemization shows up.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Amazon: right or wrong?

Amazon is undeniably an innovative company, with great potential for growth. That, however, should not be excuse to redefine the rule book. Amazon has been on the wrong side of a straight-forward commonsense issue of fairness. There is no reasonable justification for online retailers to avoid collecting the same sales tax their brick and mortar competitors must collect. Most state laws require the consumers to pay these sales taxes regardless of whether they have been collected, so any price comparisons that exclude taxes in one case but include them in another provide the consumer with a false view of pricing advantages. Why should there be an added burden for the consumer and state revenue enforcement agents to save online retailers from collecting sales tax?

As politics is the art of the possible, perhaps the deal recently brokered in California is right and proper. Compromise is good. Fairness is essential.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No entrepreneurs, no jobs!

USA Today reports Fewer people choose to be self-employed. The article by Laura Petrecca reports that the category of "incorporated" self-employed workers in the USA has dropped by 726,000 since August 2008. In the face of a drive to create new jobs, this is an alarming statistic, since entrepreneurs who incorporate account for the overwhelming majority of soon-to-be-hiring firms.

To be plain, if we want to create jobs in this country, it is time to focus on entrepreneurship. Let's see if the powers that be in Washington, DC and in state governments across the nation step up to the plate, abandon political posturing and do what's right for the nation, our people, and our economy!