State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Hurricane Odile and Inventions

I have had the fortune or misfortune to be dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Odile.  I have a client that has an invention that would have been able to restore power in just two days.  His invention is described in patent number 7589640. It senses the force load on a power pole and if it exceeds a certain level, the invention lowers the cross bars and power lines gently to the ground and turns off the sector switch (power).  Once the electrical lines and cross bars are on the ground, the wind loads are almost eliminated, which means the power pole is standing at the end of the storm.  Utility workers then remove the debris and use a winch type mechanism to raise the power lines and cross bars.

This invention cannot only save billions of dollars in utility repair damage per year, get power up in a tenth the time of present techniques, eliminate billions in lost business per year lost business, it also reduces the risk of injury to utility workers who are no longer required to climb utility poles and bystanders.  But that is not all, the inventor has engineered his poles so that they are less expensive to install originally than present utility poles.

GUESS WHO is opposing the inventor?  Unions.  Their members make a lot of money working storms and they don’t want any system that allows less skilled workers to setup utility poles.  Utility companies are ambivalent, because they are regulated and only allowed a certain return on capital.  Thus, all the money they save using the inventor’s system will not improve their bottom line one iota.  This is just another example of how regulation stifles inventions and makes our lives worse, more expensive and less safe.

September 28, 2014 - Posted by | News, Patents | , ,

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