I attended a car show in Charlotte and dined with a retired American Auto Company engineer. We spoke of fuel-efficient cars. He headed a team of engineers tasked to make a 36 mile per gallon carburetor in the 1970s. He succeeded. He asked his boss when production would begin. The response? Shelve it. We just sold the patent to the oil company.
In short, the patent laws, originally designed to foster creative industry, are now used to kill new ideas. Big companies, to preserve their monopoly, buy up patents and destroy the new idea.
This is the real reason that China, Japan and South Korea will take over the American and world auto industry. My wife’s Prius Prime, from Japan, gets 132 miles per gallon of regular gas on a 6-hour, 110 electric charge. The American auto industry will fail because they and our government cow-tow to the oil companies. Gas/electric and all electric cars are the future and the U.S. auto industry won’t compete.
We will, or already have, given the world auto market to foreign countries so we can sell polluting gas hogs and serve big oil. We are our own worst enemy. President Donald Trump has even lifted serious fuel efficiency rules President Barack Obama set.
Before World War I, the American airplane industry had patent competition and buyout squabbles that nearly killed development of safe aircraft. Lawsuits were rampant over patents. When war came, the U.S. government made patent technology “open source.” All had to share ideas with all aircraft makers. The result was huge strides in aircraft designs and safety in air travel. America dominated the aircraft industry.
No company or person should be able to buy out a patent for the purpose of killing the idea. American patent law is the real reason we can’t compete with China, Japan, South Korea and, soon, Germany. To say that GM layoffs happened because people don’t want small, efficient cars is pure baloney. China and Japan are laughing at America, all the way to the bank.
Gary A. Ling
West Montague Avenue