Multiplicity of similar ideas are unstoppable

Multiplicity of similar ideas are unstoppable
Credit: Background Image- Diego PH / Unsplash

Design Thinking

Multiplicity of similar ideas are unstoppable

Written by
Sandeep Ozarde

06 min read

Written by
Sandeep Ozarde

06 min read

Design Thinking

Multiplicity of similar ideas are unstoppable

We humans often observe, imitate, get inspired, and learn things from around us. We are always learning from each other, this is what makes us unique. These ideas, knowledge, skills, inventions, and discoveries are passed on from one generation to the next. One expresses them in writings or drawings and hopes the idea remains credited to them.

You can claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright does not protect the idea, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something.

“The original idea of the web was that it should be a collaborative space where you can communicate through sharing information.”
― Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Multiplicity of similar ideas is unstoppable

The multiplicity of ideas, discoveries or inventions is not an isolated phenomenon. People think about the same ideas, and sometimes approach these ideas from a different perspective. In the 21st century, information is travelling faster than thoughts, and thus Multiplicity of similar ideas are unstoppable.

E=mc2 though could only be proved by Einstein – Henri Poincare, 1900, Olinto De Pretto, 1903, Albert Einstein, 1905, Paul Langevin, 1906.

The US President Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809 was the founder of the American Patent Law.

It is important to study Thomas Jefferson's patent ideas to understand key concepts. Thomas Jefferson was an inventor, an administrator of patent law under the 1790 Patent Act and an author of the 1793 Patent Act.

Congress passed the first American Patent Act on April 10, 1790. According to the Act, the Secretary of State was to head the new Patent Office which also included the Secretary of War and the Attorney General (Kellogg, 1998). In 1966, the Supreme Court discovered that Thomas Jefferson was the founder of American patent law.

Thomas Jefferson argued that inventors should have full rights to their inventions. But, he worried about the constitutionality of patents and that they would delay the arrival of new inventions to the public. He believed that the abuse of frivolous patents is likely to cause more inconvenience than it is to countervail those useful. (As cited in McLaughlin, 1998).

Jefferson felt that science and invention were the most certain means of advancing social progress and human happiness. His goals were as much humanitarian in science, as they were in all aspects of his life.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson

13 August 1813

By universal law, indeed, whatever, whether fixed or movable, belongs to all men equally and in common, is the property for the moment of him who occupies it, but when he relinquishes the occupation, the property goes with it. Stable ownership is the gift of social law and is given late in the progress of society.

Copyright does not protect

  • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, or discoveries
  • Works that are not fixed in a tangible form (such as a choreographic work that isn't notated or recorded or an improvisational speech that has not been written)
  • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans
  • Familiar symbols or design
  • Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or colouring

We must rethink what copyright really means?

In this hyper connected digital edge ideas cannot be controlled by the courts or by big organisations. Digital copyright infringement laws must change as we progress further into The Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond.

By 2030, I wonder who would own the ideas suggested by your Artificial Intelligent robot per se? Artificial Intelligence is quite capable of producing pieces of art, music and specific tasks by itself, our copyright laws are so broken at this very moment.

According to the Art Law Journal, copyright protection is available for

  1. an original work of authorship!
  2. fixed in a tangible medium and not virtual ideas or who said it first or opinions per se
  3. that have a minimal amount of creativity.

If a work doesn't have all three of these components, then it is not copyrightable subject matter.

Artificial Intelligence can significantly change many fields. Be it art, design, science, technology, medicine, education and even politics. Lawmakers must thus resolve these issues of copyright, patents, and ownership. Our laws need to adapt to the reality of the modern world.

Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman argues that the term intellectual property should be rejected. As it systematically distorts and confuses these issues, its use was and is promoted by those who gain from this confusion.

Fashion design in particular is not copyrightable

However, fabric design elements such as Calvin Klein-specific design embroidery on denim per se, Burberry checks pattern, and many such features of clothing do qualify for copyright protection. Yet particular styles or trends do not qualify.

The US Government

Works by the US Government are placed directly into the public domain as the Federal government is barred from holding copyright in its work. This is why NASA images, which are very popular on the Web, can be freely copied and shared and also why laws and statutes can be posted anywhere online.

Apple Inc.

Douglas Engelbart demonstrated an Operating System with a mouse pointer in 1968. This idea was then taken up by Xerox, who released their Alto computers which were the first with a mouse and GUI.

Apples Steve Jobs saw an Alto while visiting the Xerox PARC research centre which inspired him to make sure the Apple Macintosh with has a GUI. It then became the first mass-market GUI computer. This then paved way for the more business focussed Microsoft Windows Operating System, which made the idea mainstream.

The iPod revolutionised personal music thanks to the combination of progress in disparate fields. From digital music compression, hard drive miniaturisation, and cheap ARM microprocessors to various other technological innovations.

Steve Jobs, of course, knew this when he famously proclaimed that creativity is just connecting things. He didn't technically invent any of the things that made him into a cultural icon, he only perfected them to a point of genius.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb. Not the glass bulb, or the glowing filament inside it. He merely improved the previous designs to the point that they became commercially practical, in 1880.

Indian Physicist Satyendra Nath Bose

Rolf-Dieter Heuer, former director general of the European organization for nuclear research CERN, says it is unfortunate that pioneering Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose did not win the Nobel Prize for work on quantum physics in the 1920s. His work provided the foundation of the Bose-Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose-Einstein condensate, a dense collection of bosons or particles with spin, named after Bose.

Seventy years after Albert Einstein built upon the work of Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose and predicted that gaseous atoms cooled to extreme temperatures gather in the lowest possible energy state. The discovery and subsequent investigation of this new state of matter termed the Bose-Einstein condensate has earned Eric A. Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl. E. Wieman this year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

The point here is that ideas suppose to be universal, democratic and during your lifetime if someone recognises them, well and good.

Isaac Newton, 1676 famously said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”