State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Hyperloop – Mr. Musk Represents Everything that is Wrong with the US Economy.

At first glance Elon Musk appears to be the sort inventor-entrepreneur I would celebrate on this site.  He helped create PayPal, he has had a big hand in Tesla, Space X, and Solar City.  Now he is touting his Hyperloop which is supposed to be ten times cheaper than present day high speed rail projects, such as the proposed line between LA and San Francisco.  But a closer look shows that Mr. Musk is more a PR genius and government parasite than an inventor or entrepreneur.  By all accounts, Paypal was a legitimate private business, but the rest of his businesses are built on smoke and mirrors and your tax dollars.  Hyperloop appears to be another scheme for Mr. Musk to get rich off your tax dollars.  Elon does not appear to be much of an inventor either.  He is a named inventor on only four issued US utility patents and none of them have anything to do with his signature businesses.

Mr. Musk, being the master manipulator, announced that he would not be seeking any patents for Hyperloop – blessing mankind with his altruistic ‘open source’ brilliance.  However, it is clear that his present design is likely not patentable.  In addition this sort of project, in today’s USA, would require government approval, involvement, and financing.  (Note the New York subway was built by a private entrepreneur – only after regulating it into oblivion did New York become the owner)  Mr. Musk plans on receiving his funding from the government; his protection from competitors not from patents but from his government contracts and contacts.

Tesla has been one of the biggest PR smoke screens in decades.  The only reason this company exists is because of government loans in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars.  Tesla’s business model is predicated on a California requirement that automotive companies sell a certain percentage of electric vehicles.  It collects credits and sells them to other car manufactures, for more information click here.  On top of it electric vehicles are not more environmentally friendly, even by environmentalists’ skewed standards.  See Wreck the environment – drive an electric car.

Space X is another business dependent on government funding according to Tesla Motors (TSLA): Shorts Have Been Bloodied, But They’ll Be Back.  The private funding for Space X only came in after a large infusion government money.  Space X also appears to be more PR stunt than a real business.  Solar City is also based on government tax credits and appears to be cratering.

Our society celebrates Mr. Musk, who appears to be more PT Barnum than Edison, while vilifying the real inventors behind Myriad’s genetic testing for breast cancer or Claudio Ballard of Data Treasury, who invented a system that saves banks $2 billion a year.

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August 15, 2013 - Posted by | News |

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