The Patent Bully Pulpit, James Dyson Need Not Apply

When last we left our hero, I had commented on an article by Charles Arthur (Hi Charles!) regarding the plethora of words required to explain the Smart Phone Patent Wars.  Charles volleyed with “DON’T FORGET JAMES DYSON, YOU BIG FAIL, YOU.  HE DOESN’T USE PATENTS AS A BULLY PULPIT!!”  and I returned fire with “Dude, I’m in America and I’m too tired to reply right now but James Dyson wasn’t who I was talking about.  So I’m going to ask that your “Fail” comment bounce off of me and stick onto you because I’m rubber and you’re glue.  And also I’m secretly a 10 yr old schoolyard bully.”

Short version reply:   Dyson doesn’t factor into the equation at all, as my comments and 17-word “Smart Phone Patent War manifesto” applied only to, as luck would have it, Smart Phone Patent Wars.  If you read that out loud, it doesn’t sound at all like “Bagless Cyclonic-action Vacuum Cleaner Wars”, even taking into account the differences between a British and a Texas accent.

But if we’re meant to take your comment in the spirit of the law rather than the letter, I do see your point that not everyone who sues over patent infringement is a) a troll and b) wrong to do so.  I have thus prepared a long version reply which commences starting…now!

Ah, James Dyson.  Can I be honest with you?  I mean, the vacuums suck really well, but the cord on the DC 24 is maddeningly too short.  Also?  The parts are made of “liquid steel”, which is to say “plastic”.  Not good for long-term use, in my home anyway.  Now, I will say that in comparison to the 24, DC 41 Animal is a different, ahem, animal.  I love that thing like I love my Dove chocolates.  But this isn’t really about vacuums, right?  I digress…

I took a moment to consult Dr. Google and came across a fair amount about Mr. Dyson.  First of all, does he give his brother a royalty on every Dyson Ball that he sells, since the idea to use a ball-shape was his, albeit for a different product?  I always find it interesting when people get all patent-y with their inventions but don’t talk about how much their ideas and “ah HA!” moments have borrowed from other people’s ideas.  Not a criticism necessarily, but it just doesn’t seem completely honest.

In that same spirit of honesty, I will admit to not having done a ton of research on who Mr.Dyson has sued and the validity of his patents.  What I did read led me to believe that he is a serial inventor and when he hit upon the Dyson Bagless Vacuum, it became his Holy Grail.  At that,  it took him a long time to go from the design of a vacuum that wouldn’t lose suction to a product that someone would actually manufacture.  Ten years, if his Wikipedia entry is to be believed.   I think Dyson vacuums are a slick product and I think that’s why people buy them.  They like the story that underdog Mr. Dyson was the first to bring this technology to market and all the other people who do anything remotely similar are charlatans who built off of his ideas (and didn’t! pay! him! for! the! privilege!).  Plus, let’s face it:  Pink.  Not Pink, but pink vacuums.  Sheer genius to the overworked Mom who just wants a little pretty in her domestic life, lol!

So whilst Dyson is indeed an example of maybe perhaps someone who might have grounds to sue over a particular technology and it’s practical application, again, he was not the target of my 17 words.  John Chambers actually put it a little better than I did, and used even fewer words:

He didn’t name names, but, speaking to the audience, he said for “his peers” in the room, “you shouldn’t be suing your peers.”

That’s six words, to my 17:  You shouldn’t be suing your peers.

So by my count we have serve, volley, return volley.  Your ball, Mr. Arthur!

Just sayin’,


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