The Patent Gold Rush

To anyone about to enter grad school, or thinking about what course to take at uni, let me profer some advice that will make you millions.

Dot com crashes notwithstanding, there is a clear path to riches in the US which hasn't been as obvious since the Gold Rush in the middle of the 19th century.

The modern day 49ers need to follow their predecessors to California, but first of all they need a law degree and they need to specialise in patent law.

It's all kicking off down in Silicon Valley as Google's $12bn acquisition of the mobile arm of Motorola yesterday makes clear. I can't be bothered to list who's suing who in the US mobile market these days - it's easier to say that everyone is suing everyone else, and even Google has had to admit that its brains trust is likely to come a cropper in inventing anything due to prior patents from the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, etc.. Which is why they've bought the patent pools of IBM and now Motorola. Now they can keep on innovating on the Android platform whilst armies of lawyers battle it out in the courtrooms of California and beyond.

It's a high stakes game of breathtaking proportions based on some very bad and fragile legislation that no other country in the world apart from Germany would put up with.

Sooner or later, the US legislators are going to have to clear up this mess. In the meantime it's Deadwood meets the IT Crowd and the lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank...