I have invented something! I call it… THE WHEEL!!!!!

Oh, it was a memorable moment when it suddenly struck me… the idea for THE PERFECT DEVICE. I was sitting on the deck, relaxed with a good book, in the shade of the umbrella in suburbia. And…. BAM! There it was, a vision of how the world can become perfect.

So, I took my sketchbook and started drawing, and came up with the perfect concept. THIS would be the NEXT BIG THING! So, now that I took some time to go over the concept once again, and another time… I feel comfortable to show the world the future: I have invented a thing I will call…. the wheel!

I’ll take a bow now if you don’t mind. Please, thank you, thank you… it is my gift to humanity.

Crazy? Well, sure. But this is really what I hear every single day at work, or at home when I turn on the television. That some company is introducing something amazing… something so good, I never could understand how I ever lived without it. Only… I did. And not only that… most of those things, have been around for so long.

A good example, the detergent that cleans your laundry even whiter than before. Sure. You mean your old product was actually not as white as you proclaimed it to be? And the detergent you sold 5 years ago? All our white clothes must have been grey actually.

I don’t mind marketing. I understand the whole thing, but what I can’t (under)stand is when a company proclaims they have founded something so new, that it never was there before. And most people buy it right away (not so much the product, but the story) and even a lot of professional publications will simply help shout it to the world.

In the ’90s it was popular to believe that or Microsoft or Apple had invented the ‘windows’ mechanism that is now so standard in all OS’s. But everyone with a bit of IT and UI knowledge can tell you that Xerox actually got first their hands on it for the copier machines. But at least Apple nor Microsoft ever claimed that they ‘invented’ it.

Nor did Apple ever say they invented the ‘tablet’ or touch-screen on mobile devices. People who did not know any better simply assumed it. Which is absolutely fine.

But there is a lot of smaller companies who have done no research in their quest of creating a new thing, and proclaim immediately in their press releases that they do something no-one ever has done before. One client of mine is very good at this; while talking through some concepts, and brainstorming a bit, immediately, before I even check my emails again, a press-release has left the building mentioning that the client will do something that the world has never seen before.

And it is not only this client, I see so many press releases that are written like this, that you get numb because of it. Bigger companies usually are pretty much aware, because they know what can happen if you claim an invention that already has been there. Or people or companies who are well aware with patents and requesting them, know very well how important a research into the subject matter is.

Which makes this also a nice tie-in with what is going on right now between Oracle and Google, or any Patent-related thing right now.

Patents are actually very valid and ideal things; you invent something, and if no-one claimed to be the inventor of the same thing, you will be the inventor. And with that you also can claim the sole right to produce, license or publish it. Being the inventor, this is a very important thing. Because, if someone steals your thing, you can claim it is yours and negotiate with the ‘thief’ some kind of agreement, financially or not.

Simple.

But what if I would have claimed this wheel, and say, nobody has claimed it. And it is a solid kind of invention. So, I could get all the credits. But what if the concept of the wheel is so logical, and inevitable that it is more or less generic knowledge?

One of the patents Oracle and Google are fighting about is a patent on API’s in Java. Can you patent the concept of an API? in a certain Programming Language even? Can you be an inventor of something that is so generic?

I don’t have an answer. I know there are a lot of people in favor and even more against software patents, but, it is not such an easy thing. Sure, when you build something, a new product, you don’t want to be held back by patents you never know you were crossing. The ‘pinch’ gesture of your fingers to zoom in on a photo… can you patent that? It is a movement? A physical activity… should Apple be able to patent that? They did… but isn’t that a bit weird?

Should someone be able to patent voice-controlled technology? I mean, isn’t that patenting something that listens? Sure, I understand the technology should be able to be patented… or should it? Are we working too much in detail when describing patents?

Just like that wheel. If I would patent it, shouldn’t I then immediately be able to claim even rolling logs?

Because, I might claim I have invented the wheel… but we all know it has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. Like said in the beginning… it is never really new.

It is good then that I came up with something else too… are you ready for it?

Here it is….

Sliced bread!

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