dinsdag 15 september 2015

are patents like nature?

There are some striking similarities between patents and nature.

If we look at the human genome for instance, it comprises some 3 billion (10^9) base pairs, coding for 1 billion amino acids. In the human genome some 33 000 genes have been distinguished, meaning that the average gene is about 30 000 characters in size. 

If we look at the size of a patent, it is about 6000 words on average. Since each word counts 5 characters on average, a patent is about 30 000 characters in size. 

This means, that an average gene equals an average patent in information size.

Is that a coincidence? probably not! A gene is a condensed way of providing sufficient information to code for a feature in nature, whereas a patent is a condensed way of providing information for a feature in technology. Both in a gene and in a patent there is a sort of optimum, between on the one hand sufficiency of disclosure to work the invention (to work the gene) and on the other hand the over-expense of resources and effort. Apparently this optimum lies both in our genes and in our patents at a similar size of information load. How cool is that!

Furthermore, If we look for instance at the total human genome, about 3% is coding, in other words 97% of our DNA can be considered "junk". If we look at the portion of all patents being filed, that is commercially successful, this is also about 3%. So in patents as well 97% can be considered "junk". 

Finally, if we consider those genes or patents that belong to this so called successful 3%, there is a typical growth curve that is again very much alike.  

So patents are very similar to nature! 

References to sources of information will follow soon!

maandag 7 september 2015

Patent tip:The next innovation to die

Innovations come and go. More adequately innovations come by foot and leave by horse, much like trust. An illustrative example is the development of wind powered mechanics in the Netherlands. From the dutch website molendatabase.nl, I've distilled the number of active windmills throughout eight centuries. Eight centuries! Here is what has happened:

Windmill technology was virtually wiped out first by steam engines, later on by internal combustion engines and electrically driven engines. An entire technology, which evolved and developed in seven centuries has -within one century- become entirely obsolete*.

Steam engines themselves underwent the same fate, as the following image illustrates:

So who is next?

Well, if we see the rapid change in electrical energy generation, as is illustrated by a pair of simple S-curve fits on historic data of the global electrical energy consumption (blue) and the globally installed solar PV peak power (orange):

It is no surprise that traditional electricity generation is facing the same fate windmills and steam engines have experienced. Only this time it will be faster and more severe! Within the coming nine years, most electricity power stations as we know them will be either demolished, or kept as a museum for educational and nostalgic values. If you are aiming to invest, shorting traditional electrical power is likely to be one of the best investment options ever.

This is a transformation of virtually biblical proportions, yet, no-one seems to grasp.

I can only say: enjoy the show, it is happening RIGHT NOW!


The number of windmills in the Netherlands is rising again. Next to about 1000 traditional windmills, about 700 wind generators are currently installed. I will address a blog to this alternative clean power generation technology.