Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Australian Regional Newspaper features zkimmer digital editions

echo original

The local newspaper for one of Australia’s favourite vacation locations has featured a zkimmer edition of their newspaper. The Byron Bay Echo has agreed to publishing the zkimmer edition to accompany an upcoming article about this new technology as it is prepared for sale to unnamed publishers in Australia and the US.

The  zkimmer edition utilizes Ric Richardson’s patent pending technique of laying out a newspaper as a plan view of all the pages of the newspaper that then capitalizes on the power of tiles which is the technology that allows Google Maps to deliver satellite imagery so quickly and efficiently. The technology also utilizes the Deep Zoom tile management system that allows tiles of different magnification level to be smoothly transitioned.


Ric explains that “zkimmer is designed to do digitally what people do when they look at newspapers in real life… moving the paper from close up to arms length as they trade context for clarity… zooming in and zooming out to move from items of interest but coming up close when an article draws the reader in.”

During tests Ric found that users spent far longer browsing or skimming (ie zkimming) versions rendered with the new technology than other examples using flash based magnification and eye candy such as page animation.

We have included a video demo here for you to have a look at so you know what’s going on although the technology is pretty self explanatory. It features a voice over by Ric as he runs through a zkimmer edition of the Echo Newspaper and explains how to use it. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Aussie singing legend Johnny O’Keefe – first Music video ever?

Johhnny Okeefe singing for a music video in Sydney's Hyde PArk

As part of the material I was asked to dig up for my Australian Story Episode, we came across this old music video my Dad did for Johnny O'Keefe when he was first big on Australian music TV show Bandstand.

Artists used to do all their singing in studio to an audience but my Dad was asked to do something creative for the Bandstand people and what he and Johnny O'Keeffe came up with may be the first music video ever shot in Australia.

It must have been around 1968 because my brother and I look as if we are 5 or 6 years old. Look for us in the video. We are the ones playing with th airplane in the later third of the song.

It sure was cool doing something like this with a music legend like Johhny O’Keefe.

Ric’s Hobby: Dirt Bike Riding on Australian Story

One of Ric’s favourite hobbies is dirt bike riding. It was pretty frustrating for him in the US as he had to travel over an hour to get to a riding area and then at least 6 hours to ride amongst trees.

A segment of Ric riding his KTM 450 in a paddock near his home in Byron Bay was shot for the Australian Story episode but never used, however the Austory people did put the segment up on the episodes web page if you want to take a peek. Just look for the link to it in the video selection area next to the main video.

Song No. 14 – Zep Test (Unnamed)

For those out there that are the “creative type” you’ll know what I’m talk about when I rattle on about having an alternative creative outlet. For me it’s having a go at writing music.
This song is a big experiment for me. I started out with a riff and a bridge on slide guitar really recorded roughly (through my webcam audio would you believe).
Then I started experimenting with a piece of software called Sequel which I then used to edit down the rough guitar audio into sections and added a basic drum arrangement.
The first rough arrangement I recorded to MP3 and can be heard here. This is by no means anything like finished but I hope to use it to experiment with arrangements and try different vocal arrangements.

Note: This is only a very rough initial demo without vocals

Link to the MP3 is here. 

In the near future I will be putting mp3s here for each of the guys I am auditioning to play the various parts in the song… drums, bass and vocal.
Vocal Audition Demo
I hope my old mate Sven will have a go at doing the vocals for this. When I get it done Ill have a vocal audition mp3 here that allows Sven to listen to my vocal arrangement on the left channel and the drums, guitar and bass on the right stereo channel. Sven can listen to my vocal idea on the left and then turn me off and listen to the arrangement without vocals so he can come up with his own thing after hearing my idea. He can even sig over the right channel and send the file to me to share his ideas.
I plan to do the same for the bass and drums so that the guys I audition can hear what the idea is and work on it at home before submitting their ideas.
If you would like to hear this music as it evolves please make comments below and Ill make sure you get an invite to come back whenever this song is updated… maybe it will have a song title soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ric's song No. 2 - High School Exam Piece

Music: Instrumental; two interplaying acoustic guitars. Written about 1980 in Ric's final year at High School.

This song was originally written as part of my High School Certificate music exams. I had selected it as a piece to use for a perofrmance major but my teacher said I would have got a much higher grade if I used it as a composition major which was a downer but a nice compliment.The music comprises a Led Zeppish "Stairway to Heaven" style falling arpeggio with a middle section of light strumming and a lead line incorporating harmonics and ascending diatonic scales. A school freind named Gary Spring accompanied me when i performed it during the exam.

The version here is a re-recording I did later on when I started to learn how to use drum machines and multi-track recorders.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ric's song No. 4 - Epping Studio Jam

After recording the soundtrack for the short film about off-road racing we used the remaining booked studio time to put down a jam between my good mate Steve Cox and I. At the time we used to play together in his whole floor sized bedroom at his parents house in Castle Crag in Sydney.

Ric's song No. 5 - Drive Like Hell

This song was written for a short film that accompanied the Australian release of  the film "The Muppet Movie" during it's theater release in the early 80's. The song was meant to capture the power of off-road racing. I was sitting with my Dad who was the producer of the short listening to music and when he heard one of Pink Floyd's songs and said that he'd like something like that.

"Drive like hell" was recorded in a home studio of a guy who lived in Epping near Sydney.

Ric's song No. 3 - Move It

This song was written for a short film that accompanied the release of Aussie film "Man from Snowy River" during it's theatre release around the world back in the early 80's. The song was meant to capture the energy of the then growing BMX craze. I was sitting with the producer of the short listening to music and when he heard Devo's song Whip It, he said "that's it... but I want to it to sound more green" and the song Move It was the result.

I wrote this piece just fresh out of high school at the age of 18 or 19.

Move It was recorded in Rhinoceros Studio's which had just opened. In fact I think Andrew who ran the studio said we were his second customers ever. Rhino later went on to become the home ground and owned by Australia's major music export INXS with whom I worked as a computer music guy at Tim Farriss's home studio from time to time.

I recorded the track with the help of my good mate Steve Cox and two of his friends on keyboard and bass. The session took about 2 hours and Andrew, the studio owner, did a second mix for us at no charge. What a great way to enter the music business.

One of the best things about this recording was the lesson it taught me about copyright since for years after I used to get a check in the mail every so often for the performance royalty of the movie from APRA, an Australian organization that tracks songwriters rights globally.

Listing of Ric's Songs and Music pieces

Throughout my life I’ve loved music. Playing it with good friends and even at times having a go at writing a song or two.

Below is a list of songs that I’ve written or recorded over the years and gradually I'll complete the list as I compile either recordings or video.

Here is a quicklink for Ric to edit this list.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seminar at Sydney University with PHD and Business post grads

At the kind invitation of former Innovation director for CISCO, Jeffrey Tobias I was a guest speaker at Sydney University last night talking about building Uniloc, invention and the importance of patents. The audience was so engaging that we completely lost sense of time and went 2 hours instead of the planned 1 and a bit. Sorry guys... but the interaction with you made it really engrossing for me too.

Interestingly, some of my ideas about business building is what really got people going but we only got to that in the last 10 minutes. Come back soon and I promise to include some of that in the blog but in the meantime look for the article "Making your ideas fly" which also covers some of the principles I discussed. Please feel free to ask questions and ill try and answer them here in the blog... had a great time. Thanks for having me. Ric

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rics Strengths based on book - Now Know Your Strengths

Below you will see a listing of my top 5 strengths according to the results of the Strengths Finder test results from the Gallup Organization. These results have been verified by nearly all the professionals I work closely with and are a good indication of what I may be good at.

------------- Test Results start here -----------------

Your Signature Themes
Many years of research conducted by The Gallup Organization suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.

A review of the knowledge and skills you have acquired can provide a basic sense of your abilities, but an awareness and understanding of your natural talents will provide true insight into the core reasons behind your consistent successes.

Your Signature Themes report presents your five most dominant themes of talent, in the rank order revealed by your responses to StrengthsFinder. Of the 34 themes measured, these are your "top five."

Your Signature Themes are very important in maximizing the talents that lead to your successes. By focusing on your Signature Themes, separately and in combination, you can identify your talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy personal and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance.

No1. Ideation
You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.

No2. Focus
“Where am I headed?” you ask yourself. You ask this question every day. Guided by this theme of Focus, you need a clear destination. Lacking one, your life and your work can quickly become frustrating. And so each year, each month, and even each week you set goals. These goals then serve as your compass, helping you determine priorities and make the necessary corrections to get back on course. Your Focus is powerful because it forces you to filter; you instinctively evaluate whether or not a particular action will help you move toward your goal. Those that don’t are ignored. In the end, then, your Focus forces you to be efficient. Naturally, the flip side of this is that it causes you to become impatient with delays, obstacles, and even tangents, no matter how intriguing they appear to be. This makes you an extremely valuable team member. When others start to wander down other avenues, you bring them back to the main road. Your Focus reminds everyone that if something is not helping you move toward your destination, then it is not important. And if it is not important, then it is not worth your time. You keep everyone on point.

No.3 Learner
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

No.4 Strategic
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path—your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.

No.5 Self-Assurance
Self-Assurance is similar to self-confidence. In the deepest part of you, you have faith in your strengths. You know that you are able—able to take risks, able to meet new challenges, able to stake claims, and, most important, able to deliver. But Self-Assurance is more than just self-confidence. Blessed with the theme of Self-assurance, you have confidence not only in your abilities but in your judgment. When you look at the world, you know that your perspective is unique and distinct. And because no one sees exactly what you see, you know that no one can make your decisions for you. No one can tell you what to think. They can guide. They can suggest. But you alone have the authority to form conclusions, make decisions, and act. This authority, this final accountability for the living of your life, does not intimidate you. On the contrary, it feels natural to you. No matter what the situation, you seem to know what the right decision is. This theme lends you an aura of certainty. Unlike many, you are not easily swayed by someone else’s arguments, no matter how persuasive they may be. This Self-Assurance may be quiet or loud, depending on your other themes, but it is solid. It is strong. Like the keel of a ship, it withstands many different pressures and keeps you on your course

How to get Ric's help

Before you contact Ric
Please respect these few wishes:

  1. Please don't ask Ric for money. He is not an investor or a general philanthropist.
  2. Ric does not do homework for your call... please include a simple explanation of why you need his time and what help you need and he'll do what he can to fit you in. Average wait times are between 1-4 weeks.
  3. Please include your mobile phone in your email... Ric hates typing!
  4. Send your email directly to him .

What Ric has done for others
Some of the things Ric has done for others is:

  • Done patent drawings, written the text of a provisional patent
  • Explained how to simplify existing patent applications that have not been submitted
  • Organised his team to file provisional patents for sponsored inventors for $200 plus workers time.
  • Spoken to investors and partners on behalf of inventors with special inventions.
  • Acted as a reference to inventors existing investors to help them understand the value of the inventors patent.
  • Supported inventors and acted as a reference for inventors who have applied for a goverment grant or loan.

Things Ric will and won't do

  • Ric will usually not travel to see inventors unless it is convenient to meet them during one of his other trips.
  • He likes to avoid signing non disclosures unless the invention is a major significance. He does not want to have hundreds of legal obligations out there, it just makes his life complicated. If you have concerns about this, please have a look at the Australian Story video to work out what kind of person he is and make your own decision about whether you can trust him. He assumes anyone talking about their invention would want to keep the details confidential. It enables him to help more people too.
  • Ric does not invest in other peoples inventions. He has not retired yet and does not want to have a career as a philanthropist, so please don't ask him to invest or to assist you in finding investors.
  • In some cases however, Ric has agreed to help inventors obtain grant or govt loans and this may involve working with the inventors existing or in some cases new investors.
If you have questions or queries regarding this information please make these in the comments for this article.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Canberra to Sydney next to a Hydro Electric Project Specialist

Last week I sat next to a real smart Hydro Electricity project manager. I was coming back from talking to a couple of government department people about a couple of projects. He asked me why I knew so much about Hydro and was interested to hear that I was experimenting in home scale mini hydro electricity systems with the idea of using water as a battery storage medium to back up wind and solar energy generation systems.

We quickly got to tin tacks as he explained how important height is in the equation that defines the basic principles of Hydro power generation being:


Or energy available equals the mass of the water times gravity times the height difference between the stored location of the water and the turbine generating the power. To illustrate the importance of height he explained that the Snowy scheme gets about 2.5 megawatt hours from 1 megalitre of water. At that rate an average Australian 22 kilowatt hour per day home would only require 8,800 litres of water (less than a 10,000 litre tank) to run the house all day!

The advantage of the snowy mountain system is that the mass/ water is 800 meters above the power turbines delivering incredible leverage of the mass. By comparison the hoover dam near Vegas Nevada is only 100 meters high with the turbine at the base of the mass. Hoovers dam will be at least 1/8th the effectiveness our own Snowy system...

According to my virtual proof of concept I would need 124000 litres of water to run one day for an average Aussie home at a 3 metre difference between the top and lower tanks with the mini turbine being at the top of the lower tank.

My new friend also explained the importance of big pipes to minimize drag on the inside surface of the pipe. He said it all comes down to the power delivered to the face of the turbine blade. So now the gauntlet is set.. how do I maximize the height factor? That's the next phase to work on.

By the way another thing that came up was the efficiency of big hydro turbines. My friend said that 80-90% efficiency is common place.

Another thing he mentioned is the common practise of hydro/ coal arbitrage. This means that it is a common practise for a Hydro power company to use coal based electricity during off peak times to actually pump water back up to dams to be resold to the grid during peak times at a profit.

This sounded bad for carbon damage and is inefficiently, but it obviously makes money. In closing another tidbit he told me was that Hydro is really great for peak demand type situations such as new years eve or Australia day because hydro turbines can get up to speed and generate full power in as little as 2 minutes!

It's amazing what you can find out on a 26 minute flight.

Listing of Ric's Projects and Inventions

Over time I have been compiling a list of all the projects and inventions that I have worked on over the years. Feel free to have a look as I build it... please note that I am adding links to web pages, blog pages and Google Doc pages related to each project.
In some cases you will need to have an invitation to view the Google Docs as many inventions are still in the private stage of development, so if you want to get access contact to get clearance.

Summary of Ric's Invention and Patent Stats

The stats listed below is an updated summary of information from a master list of Ric's Inventions and Patents.

This summary document on the web is available here.
And the list of projects, inventions and patents is available here as a Google Doc and here in this blog.

< 8 million patents in US patent office - How many good inventions are possible?

Is there only 8 million great ideas out there? This data I collected from the USPTO shows the number of patents applied for and granted since the office opened. Its interesting reading... but it makes you think how few great ideas are captured in patents and what an under utilized resource patent protection is.

You can also checkout a link to the data here.

EASA - Evening with association of electric motor repairers

Last night I had the privilege of being a guest speaker for a great bunch who were enjoying their annual get together at Tweed Heads. They invited me to share the Uniloc story and to talk a bit about being an inventor but it turned into a really good interactive discussion about the Aussie invention spirit and how most Aussie's don't even realize they are inventing. It was amazing that a room of 100+ people were so tuned into the subject.

One thing I took away from the night was that there is a lot more innovation going on in most industries that anyone thinks. One gentleman I met has been engineering custom tools for decades and never even thought he could patent them. A lady I met thought that patents can be routed by doing the smallest changes to an infringing device. I explained that it is about how well the patent is written and ow patents are different to copyright in that patents are like the storyline of a book but copyright is the actual mix and sequence of words.

It was fun to contribute to their happy get together.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Australian Govt Grant and Loan System amazing but sad it's needed

It seems that every time I run into another company that is just getting going or is doing some serious R&D, that they have been or now in the process of getting Government Grants or Loans.

Back in the States this is unheard of. You would only think of such a thing  if your innovation can only be used by government or the military, and even then there are investment groups and VC's who focus on these areas.

It's really hard to get your head around how this has happened in Australia. It seams that inventors usually mortgage their houses, then rely on family and friends before eventually going to the government who from what I can tell usually contribute $1 for every 1 to $3 you put in. Which may not be a lot since you spent that $3 getting to the point where you need the extra $1 from the government.

I'm getting my head around all this now as I prepare to investigate loan and grant options for the many people that I have done provisional patents...

Here are some of the things I have found:

I am hoping to talk to some AusIndustry people this week or even the Minister for this department in hopes of finding something to help get these many ideas going.

Invention - Biodegradable Specimen Funnel and collector

A good friend of my wife and I visited today with a great idea. Like most people that know me well she new I'd be supportive of at least vetting the idea.

She proceeded to describe her idea to me in detail and as I was already researching another invention I did a quick search of the web and then the USPTO and WIPO patent databases.

Like so often happens, we found no products covering her idea, but a search of the patent databases found something so close I didn't feel like showing her so as not to discourage her so quickly.

What happened next taught me a big lesson. She outlined why the patent didn't apply to the invention and how it was utterly un-usable for what she had in mind and completely had me sold that her idea was not only patentable, but needs to be made...

Maybe I am a big softie and can't help wanting to be supportive of people that want to "have a go" at inventing... but as an inventor that knows how to take a product all the way, I never cease to be amazed by what comes out of the minds of every day people.

The Golden rule of Invention

After years of inventing and developing high technology a growing trend is becoming more prevalent in my thinking, namely;

Always use professional investors funds and professionals to run your business if you possibly can.

Why? Because the personal investment made by an inventor during the conception and prototyping stages invariably skews their thinking. This makes it hard for them to be realistic about the market opportunity, the cost to get the product made and into the market, and the development of a business plan that has a realistic expectation and exit.

For example, if I used Uniloc proceeds to fund another project, I would hire a market entry CEO and go for broke. Since the CEO would be working for me, being also the financier, it would be very hard for him to tell me that the project is failing. Whereas if I have to convince professional investors to be involved, the interaction and push-back that happens between founders, management and investors is all very healthy and good for the success of the project.

The bottom line is to get successfully to market, with minimum cost, in the minimum time.

So everything done from conception of the idea to prototyping and market entry planning must have the benefit of all the experience, know-how and careful funds handling available.

Unfortunately, at least in my experience, self funding leads to a "yes-man" environment. There is an old joke that goes like this: that the golden rule of business is "Whoever has the gold makes the rules." In real life I find this way too simplistic. In real-life you need people that have bought-in on their own terms. It's the difference between hired-guns and operating shareholders, there is a lot more on the line.

Practically, in getting an invention to market, this means experienced investors who know the market you are going into and can invest confidently in the opportunity and not only on their assessment of you as a likable guy. And secondly the market entry team, and more specifically the CEO, who has already taken a product or technology like yours to market.

See how this works?
  • If your CEO has taken a product like yours to market before, then you are not paying for all the mistakes he made getting to market the first time. Also if he thinks the project is a goer, then this is a basis for additional confidence by investors.
  • Ideally the investors you use should at least know the CEO you plan to use or at least have had experience in investing in the field or industry that your business plan is headed.
This way you set yourself up for the maximum chance of success. Two teams of experienced people have bought in on your idea. Two teams have pulled your project apart and made you think out every major problem and issue... and the three groups "founders, investors and management" can move forward with confidence for a quick and decisive market entry execution.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Teflon as a graffiti deterrent/ solution

Self promotion, rebel statement or just plain visual bullying?

What about Teflon as a protective layer for signs and wall surfaces that are frequently damaged by graffiti?
Teflon is usually used in non-stick cooking pans to protect the bottom of the pan from sticking to burnt food. Would you believe my wife and I have been testing paint properties when sprayed on old Teflon coated cooking pans and the results are worth exploring but not as good as you would think.

Paint applied to the sides of an old pan where the Teflon is the least damaged was the easiest place to get the test paint to come off... but it still took a bit of effort. Our target is to find an ease of paint release that would allow a high pressure hose to remove the graffiti paint without damaging the original surface. In practice this would allow a community owned tank truck to go around the neighbourhood and power clean the the signs and damaged walls without the need for extensive manual work.

Why work on graffiti deterrents?
When I operate out of Australia, I work from a wonderful beach side town surrounded by wondrous natural beauty. That all comes to a jarring halt whenever I see that beauty marred by graffiti.

Ever since this problem really started to bother me I have been looking at various solutions.

For example a colour matching system that allows people to place a sheet of white paper up against the graffiti damaged wall to get a colour matched printout of paint colour needed to paint over the graffiti.

Or on the other extreme a rental service that allows owners of buildings that have been frequently damaged by graffiti to cheaply rent surveillance material that is optimized to allow formal identification and laying of charges with the authorities.

Visual bullies?
School yard bullies are kids that throw their weight around, forcing their will on other kid's because they can get away with it and because its too hard for teachers to be watching them all the time. In my mind non commissioned grafitti-ing is visual bullying. They are pushing their ideas and self promotion on the other people in the community who pay for the signs and walls and buildings they abuse. Often they are selfish kids who just don't care about anyone else. How would they like it if people came into their homes and tagged their personal things or their cars?

Now.... got to get off the soapbox and get back to inventing.

Additional notes
This company has an anodized coating system that seems to be very paint resistant.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Uniloc vs Microsoft

Disclaimer: The following is gathered from public information and does not represent the personal opinion of Mr Ric Richardson. The information supplied is not a legal statement but simply a layman's summary of what has happened in the case in basic terms.
In 2003 Ric Richardson became aware of a possible infringement of the 216 patent by certain Microsoft products. Shortly after this Ric started working with Uniloc management and the firm of Mintz Levin to protect Uniloc's patent rights.

Latest news - current status
25th Feb 2010: At this time Ric is not aware of a date for the appeal however he is informed that Uniloc and Mintz Levin are steadily working towards securing an appeal court date.

The suit
At some time in 2003 Ric Richardson started noticing references to the way Microsoft's Software Activation Technology worked in web page references that related to large corporations that wanted to verify what information was and was not collected during the activation process. In Ric's mind this amounted to reasonable suspicion that Microsoft may be infringing his 216 patent. After that time Ric with the support of his team at Uniloc started working with legal representation to secure representation and file a suit.

Summary Judgement
After some years of preparation and exhaustive discovery Uniloc filed with the court to have their case heard. The judge, who was the judge who heard the eventual case in court decided to deliver summary judgement in favour of Microsoft citing that Uniloc did not have evidence to warrant taking Microsoft to court.
Appeal and reversal of Summary Judgement

As a result of the decision Uniloc appealed the decision and had the matter heard by the appeals court. Uniloc made two requests of the appeal court. Firstly to have the summary judgement reversed and that the judge be recused meaning that we requested that another judge be used to try the case.  The appeal court subsequently overruled the judge and reversed his decision citing that there was material fact submitted in our discovery that warranted a jury trial. However the decision to recuse the judge was not upheld and the same judge who had erroneously given Microsoft summary judgment was to try the case in court. Uniloc submitted in its appeal that the use of a summer intern that had worked at Microsoft may have affected the judges decision in his role as a technical adviser to the judge.

The court case and the Jury Verdict
After some weeks at trial a jury subsequently awarded Uniloc $388 million dollars excluding damages or interest. The jury also decided that the patent infringement was intentional. Under US law it is the judge that determines the damages and level of interest to be paid by the defendant.

The Judges Decision
After some months, the judge made the unusual decision to invoke his special privileges under the US law and reverse the jury verdict giving the case to Microsoft citing the reason that there was not valid evidentiary reason for the jury to reach their decision or for Uniloc to have won the case.

The Appeal
Uniloc fairly quickly decided to appeal this decision and are actively working with the court to secure an appeal court date.

Safe and Affordable Jetpack: Just $90,000

Just the thing to get into town... wonder if they make a 4 jet model?
Notice... standard gasoline and a half hour of fly time per tank. Of course this is not a Richo invention but every now and then I like to showcase really cool inventions by others here.

Sent to you by RicRicho via Google Reader:

via Gadget Lab by Charlie Sorrel on 3/9/10

martin-aircraft-jetpack-4For years, man has been trying to build a jetpack which would actually be safe and cheap enough to be used by anyone other than Lee Majors on the title sequence of The Fall Guy. It turns out that we've been doing it wrong. Instead of starting with a pack and adding on the jet, we should have torn the giant engines from a plane and strapped them to some poor schmuck. This is what the New Zealand Martin Aircraft Company did, resulting in the Martin Jetpack.
The jetpack is made from carbon fiber, with a touch of kevlar in the rotors, and generates 600 pounds of thrust. Because the center of gravity is below the "center of thrust" (a notional point between the engines), it is self-righting: If the pilot lets go of the controls, he hovers steadily in one spot. Unlike other sci-fi vehicles, the jetpack doesn't require plutonium or even garbage for power. Instead, it runs on ordinary gasoline, chugging down around 10 gallons per hour (a full tank of five gallons will give you half an hour of flight time, enough to get you to the office).
Martin's jetpack is classed as an ultralight aircraft, so you don't need a pilot's license fly it. Martin will force buyers to undergo training first, though. As its FAQ so rightly points out: "to attempt to fly any aircraft without professional instruction is extremely foolhardy." There are some safety features, though. If the engine dies, a parachute pops out like an airbag in a car, so the only thing you need worry about is crashing into passing planes.
Want one? Of course you do. Right now you're looking at a 12-month wait, and you'll have to pay 10 percent upfront, but at just shy of $90,000 — the same as a fancy sports car — it's actually a pretty good deal. And just imagine landing this thing on the forecourt of the local gas station.
The Martin Jetpack [Martin]
The Future Is Here: Jetpacks Now Commercially Available [Wired: Geek Dad]

Things you can do from here:

Main zkimmer patent now lodged as full patent

The main zkimmer patent is now lodged as a full application. For visitors with access it can be seen here:

Re:       U.S. Patent Application No. 12/247,165
Filed:          October 7, 2008
Title:           System and Method for Displaying Digital Editions of Periodicals and Publications
Applicant:    Ric B. Richardson
Assignee:    zkimmer Inc.
Our Ref:      70333-00002
Subject:      U.S. Publication No. US 2010/0002935

Ric, Sky:

The above-referenced U.S. patent application has published as Publication No. US 2010/0002935 on January 7, 2010.  Attached for your records is a copy of the publication.
We will keep you informed of further developments in this matter.  Please contact me if you have any questions. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Raising Capital and Business Building options

This article was written in preparation for a symposium covering capital raising choices and business building strategies. The following ideas are only that... my personal ideas based on my personal experience so please take that into consideration as you consider the ideas and principles I explain.

Start with the end in mind
Like all good business books I agree with the adage that goals must be clearly defined and realistic. One of my favorite business books is Business Corps a book of lessons from the US Marine Corp and one of its key concepts... the visualization and clear definition of the end state. Where you want to be.

But this is easier said than done. With options ranging from boot strapping and organic growth, to a fully fledged VC backed market entry to tapping into government business development and R&D assistance programs, it's hard to know what combination of approaches best suit your business and opportunity.

I wish I could give you real-life examples of the pros and cons of each approach and speak from experience, but I can't.

On the other hand I, like you, are looking at these same options for my own inventions and prospective businesses and can at least share with you my gut feelings and instinct on how to choose a good combination for a wide variety of businesses and opportunities.

This brings me back to the key thought "start with the end in mind". This is such an important step you need to bring all your emotional and logical resources together to make a good solid decision that has a good probability of success, requires some courage (which also makes it fun) but is also realistic.
So let's start the process

For your business to be a major success will it eventually have to be based overseas? Maybe in the US? Are you prepared to go there for a decade? How much investors money are you willing to spend to learn to be a CEO of your company? If you haven't done it before then don't presume it is something you will just get the hang of in time.

To help further clarify, I find that business success is the combination of three main elements.
  • A great idea or technology from determined founders
  • A great execution team that have done this kind of business before.
  • Money from quality investors
These three things are the core of success as far as I can see. The weaker the core idea, the harder it is to sell in turn making it hard to execute for even the best team with tons of money.

But a killer idea will die on the vine if the opportunity window passes while the founders try and learn how to build and run a business... and even with the most supportive investors who may have the deepest pockets you run risk of spending a lot of money and not getting anywhere.

My magic formula is this:
  • A strong new idea with a value that is readily appreciated by the target customer. The idea need not be commercialized but it has to be baked, not still in R&D.
  • A CEO who has sold something like this before. Someone who knows exactly who to sell to for how much and can build a business plan that is based on real experience.
  • An investment group that is familiar with the market you are entering and may even be known to the CEO so that the decision to move is fast and the confidence in the business plan is well founded and reasonable.
  • The next thing is to be realistic about your end goal, what we called earlier the "end state".

An example 
For example, you may have a health care technology that may have international market opportunities but you know in your heart that if you can get adoption in major hospitals in every state of Australia you will have executed your plan to your satisfaction.

Unless you have already sold some technology to every major hospital in Australia, I'd start looking for someone else who has. Beg, borrow and steal. Do whatever it takes to find, the guy... or gal who has been there before. 

Someone who knows how to deal with state health departments and hospital management.  This may sound slow but going off half cocked and trying to start market entry yourself will take much longer than you think and could quite possibly kill the opportunity.

Kill the opportunity? Yes. I am a firm believer in opportunity momentum. It's the magic that happens when great people work on a great idea and are backed by the right resources.It's happened to me before and now that I know what it feels like I'll never try and run my own company again.

So you find someone to lead your team to your goal and now you need funding. They may love your idea and your aspirations, but what do they want to get out of it? What does your CEO want to get out of it?

Isn't the goal for both your team and your investors to build the business and then cash out? Is it realistic to expect a market entry maestro to spend the rest of his or her days maintaining the business and for investors to be happy with a quarterly dividend?

How does everybody exit?

The answer to these questions is the reason why the most important question to answer regarding the end state is "How does everyone exit?" What does your CEO , your investors and your family want in terms of an exit?

When you get your head around this it completely changes your game plan. Put plainly:

Your end state, your ultimate goal is your exit strategy.

It sounds crass and capitalistic to some of you I know, but it is a reality. It is the only way to execute your plan, and the earlier you decide what you want to do the easier it will be to execute a good plan. So here are some options to consider.

Example Exit Options

IPO - not for the feint hearted. Almost certainly requires a stellar VC backed US market entry and you better have a killer product and be ready to live in the states for a decade.

Acquisition or Merger - Have three target acquirers in mind from day one. Know what they need and how not only your product but your business plan and execution will fit with them as you  get ready to put your self on the market.

Back in California I was privy to the antics of a couple of quintessential entrepreneurs called the Steelburg brothers. They had tea shirts printed up for their shareholder meetings with "Google, Yahoo or Microsoft?" printed on the back that everyone was encouraged to wear. I don't think there was any doubt as to what their exit strategy was. They subsequently sold to Google in record time.

So there you have it... I hope these ideas are helpful. But please remember these are only the personal findings of moderately successful inventor who dabbles in entrepreneurship.

Other articles you may find interesting:

About Ric: Overview

Ric Richardson (born May, 1962) is an Australian inventor, technologist and founder of Uniloc, the software company he started in 1992. Uniloc recently received worldwide attention when a jury in Rhode Island sided with the company against Microsoft in a patent infringement dispute.The judge subsequently overturned the jury's decision and the case is now going to the appeal court in the US. During his career at Uniloc, Ric has held the positions of Chairman, CEO and CTO, and remains one of the largest individual shareholders.

Ric left day-to-day activities at Uniloc to begin working as a full-time independent inventor in late 2007. Since that time Ric has worked on a small number of major technology projects as well as a diverse assortment of smaller projects. Major projects include Logarex which is an ambitious logarithmic compression technology that he hopes will radically reduce the size of all stored digital data by between 50-98%, and zkimmer, a digital document viewing technology that uses digital mapping engines to elegantly handle large numbers of photographic quality magazine and publication images.

Ric stepped down as chairman of Uniloc in early 2009 but continues to develop inventions for the company on a regular basis. 

When must PCT or WIPO patents be filed?

A few of the visitors to this blog have asked when is the latest you can file your PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application. This is not legal advice and I request that you always check with a lawyer but according to this link...

... from the USPTO you have 12 months from your FULL national application to file your PCT application without losing your priority date.

So as far as I can tell this is how it is....

  • You have up to 12 months from when you first complete your invention to file a provisional.
  • Then you have 12 months from your provisional filing in which to file your full application (at least this is so in the US.
  • The according to the link above you have 12 months to file your PCT application.
Remeber your PCT application is only that... it is an application, NOT a patent in itself. All the PCT does is maintain a priority date while you explore in which individual countries you will proceed to do a full patent application. I have not researched the additional windows for each country but if you have got this far it is about time that you start using the services of a good international patent lawyer.

Ric's note: For such a common question I was surprised how long it took to find documentation on the subject... I kind of new this from experience but still it is something that should be readily available on the net or at least wikipedia.

Friday, March 5, 2010

View Australian Story Episode online Now - Updated

For a few months the online access to the ABC Australian Story episode featuring Ric Richardson has been restricted due to an ongoing legal situation regarding copyright for music used in the series.

As that issue nears resolution the Australian Story management has kindly re-established online access to the show which can be now viewed at:

Also on this page are links to the following videos:
  • Ric riding his dirt bike
  • Ric as a kid featured on a Johnny O'Keefe music video for Bandstand produced by his Dad and agrueably one of the first music video's made in Australia.
  • Background photos from the story

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ric's Current Work List

Below is an abbreviated list of Ric's current work. Sometimes it may not be updated for an extended period of time, but for most people that work with Ric this is a way of knowing what im currently working on and whether your project scheduled for work by him in the immediate future.

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