Monday, August 30, 2010

News story from 1992 just weeks after filing the Uniloc patent

I was looking through some videos that were returned to me after the Australian Story episdoe (they asked me for any video I had that may be relevant) and found this... a segment from the 7.30 report done a few weeks after the Uniloc patent was filed back in 1992... it was a pretty exciting time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A little Google Robot experiment that may work

Sorry to drag my readers through an unproven experiment but hopefully the following will actually work…

I have done a little experiment to see how search engine robots work and have planted hopefully a unique term “Testaramarizer” in such a way so that it is clear how the technology works.

Before writing this article a search for the term at this search url:

Delivered no results… but hopefully after the Google Robots visit there will be at least two results… one for this article and the second to show the results of my test where the search results actually point at a video from my YouTube account…

The link that triggers all this is:

Hopefully by morning this will all be working….

I have also included the following test do to ensure I know if the Google robot is being detected improperly…

Monday, August 23, 2010

Highlights from Tech 23

Had a great time at Tech23. Caught up with some of the people I met last year and a lot of new people… had 11 meetings starting 7.30am!

Here we go:

  • First up at brekky met Ryan Junee a young fellow who has successfully sold his business to Google.. power to him
  • Bit of circulating talking to a few of the guys that will be presenting to my panel later in the day then…
  • 10am Peter Fox, the guy who turned Home and Garden into a web aware TV/ Magazine show and I discussed a new technology to allow kludging of online video into other projects and tracking royalties and rights at the same time… that was fun…
  • 11am met with Bill Bartee from Southern Cross Ventures. What an open enthusiastic gentleman.I’m looking forward to matching his funds needs in the future and having him up to Byron for a visit.
  • 12 noon. Steve Berry - Global Head of Business Management at Macquarie Bank also old mate and friend caught up.. talking about one time use credit cards, a new transaction model for credit cards and some other interesting stuff over a bit of lunch… it was great to see him…
  • 10 minutes with the NICTA Automap people… shape recognition for street signs and sending geo info to the online map people…
  • Then a quick session with the other panel members including the head of strategic investments for Intel… just to square away how we were going to run the panel…
  • Then the panel….
    BiNu was really cool… a great technology for speeding up internet usage on basic/ non smart cell phones… it uses a simplified and automated process to interpret web pages for simple cell phones and then displays the page much faster… has lots of non cell applications that I hope to explore with them…
  • Next Ceebron… a way for tracking palettes of food and other perishables while in transit… really cool and very important…
  • Finally Taggle… cell phone band tracking tags for everything from cattle to water meters… definitely a great idea.
  • Then a bit of chin wagging before going off to the awards ceremony… on the way a great brained entrepreneur from ran some ideas past me over a 10 minute walk… even came up with an idea for a patent!
  • Saw an old friend from my pre Uniloc days David Fox.. he and another guy started Infomagic back in the eighties… Dave turned me onto DayTimers and we used to sit around in his office playing music with his in office keyboard… they were the great early fun days of the Mac craze… it was so great seeing him again especially since he has moved to the US and was just visiting by chance….
  • Then VC Steve Hobbs visited with me and blockbuster Avatar video effects guy Steve Koury. Steve is a VC who specializes in medical applications and has some really interesting projects going.. the night just kept going and going…
  • Then the awards:
    NiBu won the day of consulting from me so I congratulated them, then returned to the two Steves to continue talking about the future of medical technology in Australia.
  • Then finally I met a visionary hedge fund manager who is looking for a way to make a difference with Australian inventors with some investments funds… what agreat way to finish a great night….

Well done Rachel and the team for a wonderfully constructive and supportive event with meaning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What to patent… what is the example embodiment?

Lots of people have asked me what to place as their prime example of an invention when they submit a provisional patent.

When you write a patent you have a core idea which is meant to be expressed using an implementation that demonstrates what you think at the time is the best possible example of the invention in practise (i.e. in actual use).

The problem here is that many people start writing up a specification for their product instead of showing a version of the invention in use that is the simplest you can possibly show that discloses how you actually intend to use the invention in real life.

In my mind there are three implementations of an invention you need to consider when writing a business plan which need to be considered before showing your invention in a patent:

  1. The simplest implementation. What is the thing in its most basic form. No puffery. No additional features. Just the bare minimum. Simple but enough to enable someone who knows the business to duplicate what you are doing.
  2. Dream implementation. This is where you let your imagination run wild and try to envisage your invention as people will actually use it.
  3. Actual Implementation per your business plan. This may be a simplified real world version of your invention that minimizes manufacturing and marketing costs and is most probably geared to a specific market segment/ opportunity that makes it easy for you to enter the market and get to break even as soon as possible.

How do you use these three implementations?

Your initial business plan should have a vision section where you flesh out your ultimate dream for your invention. Where the invention is used throughout the market and the invention has reached full market penetration and is used in every possible way you can imaging. This is where you use your dream implementation.

Then your business plan has the next steps section. This section is about real world. About what you are going to build first,how it will be received by the market place and the real costs of getting an initial toe hold in the market. Use the actual implementation version of your invention for this.

And finally for the main body of your provisional patent example use the simplest implementation. In the alternative embodiments section make sure you have covered any essential features you may run across in the dream implementation but only if they must be added. Otherwise focus on cutting off any opportunities that occur to you that people may use to work their way around the basic specification of your patent.

This and other articles will appear in an e-book I am preparing for those of you who are interested.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rail Trucking: Some maths for the Sydney to Brisbane Rail line

Ok… so how many trucks could the Sydney Brisbane rail line handle? How many trucks could we get off the Pacific Highway?
10… 100… 1000? Is this all worth it?
Here are some figures.
  • The station manager I interviewed at the Casino rail station said that up to 15 trains pass through per day with the maximum on the weekends.
  • This manes that 7-8 trains pass every day going opposite directions.
  • This means one train passing every spot on the line every 2 hours on average.
  • Each train is up to 1.5km in length and must go on the side rail at least twice in a 12hour Syd Bris trip to allow other trains to pass. During this time they are waiting for the other train to clear the main line since it is shared by trains going north and south.
  • The Sydney Brissy line is about 1000km long.
  • During a 12 hour trip there would be at least seven other trains on the line with you at the same time.
  • Given that the train is 1.5km in length and a 10 km buffer is needed in front of each train for safety reasons you need to take at least 7x 12km (or 90kms) of track just for trains and their safety zones.
  • This leaves 900k’s of track available for rail trucking activity.
  • Give each truck a 300meter buffer this means 3 trucks per k and this means…
  • A capacity of up to 2700 trucks 10 hr trip or (2700 x 2.4 ) 6,480 per day with each truck getting on and off the rail maybe three times per trip…
  • In reality a 2-3 hour drive spell means 4-5 stops in 10 hours which actually adds to the relieving of congestion further.
  • Better still what if the main line went bidirectional… ie one rail line in each direction… spacing could get down to 100 meters and the space needed for trains could be reduced due to never risking a head-on collision….
  • With this config the capacity more than doubles…
  • Only 50k’s are needed for all the trains on the line…
  • And 10 trucks can travel per km of rail which makes the equation 2 x 950 x 10 which is 19000 trucks in 10 hours which is over 32,000 trucks per day at full capacity.
And this is a line in high existing use!
Note: This is not a definitive research figure but more an initial assessment prior to full research and verification which would happen prior to publishing the post prototype business plan.

Rail Trucking Research with Engineer and trucker


Last Wednesday I was out on the road doing research with the fabrication engineer for Rail Trucking collecting information for the initial drawings of the Rail Trucking bogeys (see Rail Trucking article).

Along the way I flagged down a truckie going past and asked him if could measure his truck for Rail Trucking specifications. While the engineer measured wheelbases and tire widths etc, I interviewed the truck driver about what its like to be a truckie.

Towards the end I eventually explained to him what we were doing and how Rail Trucking works. I fully expected to be palmed off since it very unconventional to think of trucks on the rails but I was truly surprised to find that his reaction was very positive… in fact his biggest problem was with the thought that truckies would find it so relaxing to drive by rail that they will be falling asleep…

--- thus to him the biggest problem would be the installation of what is called a deadmans’ brake… some kind of device that allows the truck to stop if the driver is incapacitated for any reason…

Wow. What a great reaction. This is going to have to be well thought out since the idea of a truck driver reading a news paper until the next rail turnout is what the invention is all about. The other thing the driver talked about was the though that much more traffic could travel in the day now that hundreds and even thousands of trucks could travel on one rail line.

What a great start.

I also asked him what he felt about being another 10 inches higher up if we had to put the rail wheels underneath the truck tires? He saw straight away that since rail has much milder sweeping curves and flatter climbs that going up in height didn’t impact operation or safety at all… so far every problem I thought would be an issue has turned out to be not a problem after all.

Other Rail Trucking articles

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thankyou for all the support

4,000 visitors in one day from the Sydney Morning Herald article. Again I feel privileged that the Uniloc story and our fight has been of so much interest. To me its just stuff that has to be done, but it is so great to have the support of everyday people.

Thank you.

A small but vocal few persisted in touting their contrary opinion which is fine but mislead. The fact that Asher Moses reported an inflammatory comment by a local lawyer may be necessary to be seen as neutral reporting, but his position that there may be doubts about the integrity of our patent claim are truly unfounded.

For the record:

  • Patent trolls do not spend 18 years building business that they are only trying to defend.
  • We only took action after it was blatantly published by Microsoft exactly what they were doing.
  • If we were patent trolls, do you think we would go after the biggest software company in the world by choice?
  • If we were only in it for a quick buck, why would we pick the most expensive case to fight first?

Come on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sydney Morning Herald Article Today


After speaking to Asher Moses from the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, he reported on the new Uniloc suits on the SMH.COM.AU website today.

It's amazing that everyone is so supportive of what Uniloc (and I...) are trying to do. Even though there are a handful of ridiculous murmurs calling Uniloc a patent troll in the US, everyone seems to understand that you can't lay claim to a patent and then walk away from it as soon as things get a bit hard.

Here are some of the quotes I gave to Asher:

“What many people don’t realize is that the validity of the Uniloc patent was not being questioned by the court. In fact it’s validity was maintained  even under the test of all of Microsoft’s legal resources. The judges decision simply showed that he agreed with Microsoft that the method used by them for Activation is different to the method described in the 216 patent. It’s there in the decision for all to see.”

“The fact is that the patent withstood a firestorm of scrutiny has given me the confidence to support Uniloc as it goes about protecting its patent rights that I assigned to the company shortly after it was invented.”

“Even though the list of new companies being sued have been carefully researched and evaluated over the years, I am sure Uniloc is using the same approach we used in evaluating Microsoft’s Activation system while I was day-to-day at the company.”

“I am the inventor of the 216 patent, but Uniloc Singapore (a wholly owned subsidiary of Uniloc Corporation here in Australia is the assignee of the US patent. The Australian and New Zealand patents for the same invention are owned directly by the Australian parent company.”

“As I said on ABC’s Australian Story, you can’t decide to patent your invention and then let it flap in the wind. You have to stand by your decision.”

“When you invent something it’s really hard to believe that no one else in the world has thought of your idea. You spend a year then two, then five waiting for someone to pop up who was doing it better before you, but that never happened.”

“Uniloc is a serious company with lots of employees, lots of talent and only a fraction are working on the patent protection side. It’s not a focus in terms of manpower but it is something we have to do.”

Re the Microsoft case:

“My personal opinion is that Microsoft is a big company and their fighting Uniloc every step of the way from initial suit even to the Supreme Court makes sense for them financially if it can lessen the likelihood of paying out the large sums being contested. What is ten or fifteen million dollars in legal fees when hundreds of millions are at stake?”

“I haven’t researched how many times Microsoft has said “oops sorry we infringed your patent… here is the royalty you asked for” but I doubt it has happened to many times.”

Not to be picky but there are a few things in the article needing clarification:
  • It was reported that I list 140 inventions on my site.... actually its projects and inventions.Some of these were not what I would consider an invention including the Shadesavers I worked on with my brother... it was a novel idea but I don't think qualified as an invention.
  • Also the Collaboration for eBay is quoted as having applications in the Lottery and gambling space. For the record I personally do not agree with or want to support gambling in any way. However, the article quite rightly reports that the invention could be used for that purpose though if I was implementing it would never use it that way.
Nuff said.

Invention: Outback grass fire blanket


Update 31st August 2010: Research results so far into fireproof tire coverings and under chassis heat protection have been a bit depressing, but I am not giving up hope... since I wrote this a few fire-ees have approached me for help with their own inventions and I am bringing their experience to bare on the problem. I also at this stage would like to formally confirm that the results of these tests and any invention that comes out of it will be made available in the public domain to ensure that the technology is provided as cheaply and widely as possible if we are successful.

This idea has been on the cards for some time after seeing the bushfires in southern Australia last year. One of the easiest things to do to stop a bush fire spreading is to attack it before it gets into the trees.
This concept involves a protective blanket that protects the underside of a tractor and a trailing blanket of fire resistant material that is 30 feet wide and up to 100 feet long that gets dragged behind the tractor as it drives along the fire line that often occurs as a bush fire burns across an open field or across a lawn surrounding a residence.
The idea is that the blanket starves the fire of oxygen for long enough to stop it from reigniting after the blanket passes.
The next step is to run this past the local fir-eys to see if it has legs.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Uniloc is now enforcing its patent rights with others besides Microsoft.

As I am not on the board at Uniloc and not privy to a lot of non public information about the company, I learned along with a lot of you that Uniloc has gone to court with another group of large software publishers including Sony and McAfee.

Even though I spent most of my time preparing for the Microsoft case before I left Uniloc to become a full-time inventor, I knew this kind of thing was on the cards and really what else can Uniloc do?

As I said in ABC’s Australian Story, you cant decide to file a patent and then just let it flap in the wind. It’s a gutsy thing for the guys at Uniloc to do and I fully support them.

Yes, I am a shareholder, and yes there is money involved in winning these cases but there is also a financial return in reclaiming money stolen from a bank. It’s not a way to make a quick buck, its just a way to get justice when someone just takes something that isn’t theirs and is forced to pay you for what they took.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Example Planning Cap Table

As promised in a previous blog I have enclosed and example of a cap chart that could be used in planning out the equity and dilution of ownership over the life of a company.


Please click to enlarge

This approach includes two features that I find very useful in my new circumstances operating in Australia but ultimately doing market entry in the US.

In summary this cap table shows the following key events:

  • In the initial inception of the company I sell 15% of the stock in a holding company to obtain 600k in operating cash for the market entry team to live off while they are raising cash for their own modified business plan. This assumes an angel round valuation at $4mill. I have done start-ups ranging from $900k to $8mill as start-up angel valuations in the past.
  • Next I may give 3% as a sign on equity to an experienced CEO who has taken a similar product to market entry. The CEO will also have performance equity bonuses ranging from an additional 5% for completing the raise and a total of 15% for completing a successful market entry with the company being in the black at a valuation of $25mill.
  • An additional 9% is allocated to other key staff that the CEO needs to hire and will require an equity position to participate.
  • After round 1 funding the round investors will be given just under 30% of the shares in the company for a $2mill investment.
  • By the time the CEO and team members get their performance equity totalling 15% for the CEO and 9% for other key staff, the founder holding company has been diluted to 51% ownership and the round 1 investors diluted from 30% down to 25%.

Planning out dilution this way helps you as a founder manage your business plan, valuation and equity positions to ensure that you know exactly the maximum equity you can sell to ensure you do not lose control of the company during the business building process.

Including angel investors in a parent holding company allows them to get maximum return on their investment without diluting your ability to control the company at a later date since they are not voting as a shareholder in the market entry company.

If you think that round 1 investors will need more than 30% of the company and you are worried that the you may lose control of the company if the CEO votes with the round 1 investors then you can negotiate to place the CEOs holdings inside the parent holding coampany where they can still get a high percentage return on the companies success but their voting rights are controlled by you as the majority owner of the parent holding company.

Something to think about.

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