For the first time in the nearly forty year history of the IEEE Milestones program, the group gave four awards in one day to the same company. That company is of course Bell Labs, currently a subsidiary of Alcatel Lucent. President of Bell Labs Marcus Weldon (center of photo) was there to receive the four awards for communications theory and networks, wireless and satellite communications, digital signal processing and computing, and solid-state and optical devices.
Liberty Intercept Blog
A recent unanimous Supreme Court decision determined that genes cannot be patented. That seems like an obvious concept, but the issue is that the gene was difficult and expensive to isolate from the chromosomes in which it resides. On top of the initial expense, the possible inventions that could spring out of this innovation may be very lucrative, so the company who isolated the gene attempted to file the patents, but was rejected. In this case, the gene is a very strong indicator of breast and ovarian cancer - although it is a groundbreaking, innovative, and brilliant discovery (to paraphrase Justice Thomas), it is still a naturally occurring material and is, therefore, not patentable. This decision makes the findings unprotected and opens the doors for other companies or researchers to run with the recent discovery and possibly find ways to build on it.
Peter Drucker*, the father of modern management, wrote, “the purpose of a business is to generate new customers, and only two functions do that: marketing and innovation. All other business functions are expenses.” A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies every day.