Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thrown Out To Dry

It's no fun being an inventor in Singapore when big brother is out to grab your ideas. Yiap was too trusting in February 2001 when he presented his design for a clothes drying rack system to the officers at the Housing & Development Board (HDB).

HDB lawyers Darrell Low and May Tan told the court that the board had been "reviewing available racks"  since year 2000 - see 5 designs considered in the Facebook page "Development of HDB Clothes Drying Systems". Meaning, Yiap's invention could have been included in the survey. HDB dissed his creative effort as unsuitable, and proceeded to implement their own system in August 2001. Maybe the HDB had cherry picked the best of the features in rack systems they had come across, Yiap's ideas included.

But that was not the crux of the legal arguments presented in court. HDB said Yap only applied for the patent in February 2003. The technicality of timing was repeated by the lawyers in highlighting that potential patent infringement was suggested only in 2006, and the statutory time limit for filing a legal challenge, being only 6 years, had run out. Timing plays a crucial role in Singapore events because a walkover in Tanjong Pagar during GE2011 was decided by the tardy bureaucratic processing of another challenger's nomination papers. The losers have their own story to tell.

It was Justice Chan Seng Oon who mooted a more palatable justification for junking the intellectual property claim: that Yiap had calculated the load bearing capacity of his system to accommodate the weight of a human body, in case someone should fall while hanging out the heavy clothes to dry. HDB chose to save on the cost of engineering materials, and not incorporate the safety factor for the protection feature. Rather, they preferred to let their customers hang out to dry. The profit motive for a less robust design variant is consistent with the philosophy of the day, "what's wrong with collecting more money" ?

27 comments:

  1. Does your HDB flat belong to you?
    Do your organs belong to you when you die?
    Why should your ideas belong to you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does the $30 million bungalow on Sentosa belong to the person who bought it?

      Delete
    2. yup, its 1984, your thoughts must belong to big brudder ma! only FT can hv their own private space, 3rd class NS-serving citizens do not need a brain, they are scarecrows in the land of ...oz?

      Delete
  2. The great man told the Australians to back off enticing our graduates to settle there. In their place he offered our "hewers of wood and drawers of water" (meaning our HDB losers) to them. So one less if he/she fell is of no consequence. We prefer more billionaires.

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  3. Earlier there was this mobile ambulance and now this rack. What is the moral of the story ?

    If anyone has any chance of an award winning patent, make sure you don't offer your idea to any of those in charge lest your idea becomes someone's else.

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  4. I like your comment on the case although another way of looking at it is that a patent troll tried to fleece HDB but was taken to task instead, since his patented (and now revoked) invention looks nothing like what is implemented by HDB.

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    Replies
    1. Bottomline:
      What is the message here?
      Is it "Don't waste our creative energy inventing anything for Singapore govt." ?
      What do Yew think?

      Delete
    2. Oiii...it is PAP government lah...not singapore gov't ... get it right....a singapore gov't work for singapore...a pap gov't work for the pap...get it?

      Delete
    3. //patent troll tried to fleece HDB//
      LOL! Now I've heard everything!

      Delete
    4. I stand corrected.
      I should have said PAP government and not Singapore government.

      Delete
  5. If they say there is no inventive step, why approve the patent? Looks like IPOS is also indulging in the mantra "what's wrong with collecting more money"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since his patent is no rejected.
      Got refund from IPOS or not?

      Delete
  6. Never ever share your ideas to anyone who has influence.

    They steal, adopt, adapt at best but the worst is that they reject your ideas but then after some time quietly introduce it.

    Then they claim credit for it. Happens everytime.
    Why do you think there is a staff suggestion box? or staff ideas committee?

    Though your idea may increase productivity ( usually ) you will be left out in the cold. Better to sell your idea to others.
    They teach all graduates to think of multiple ways to harness all your energy & ideas but at the same time thumb you down and treat you like a fool and idiot, not worthy of any recognition.

    Never, ever share your ideas in how to improve, change, adapt any process, design to anyone. NEVER.

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    Replies
    1. v true! this has been happening to the opposition all the time.

      they suggest a solution, the PAP jeers them down and yowls that they're irresponsible idiots out to ruin the country.

      a couple of years later, we have the same idea brought up - as a PAP idea of course, and as an idea that is supposed to be brilliant and which hilights the PAP's acute foresight and thoughtful response to society's needs....

      so much for truth, honesty and responsibility.

      does no one realise that if you lie so blatantly, pple not only lose their respect for u, they follow suit?? and then we get all puzzled when some tour guide follows the protocol set by the powers that be....

      Delete
  7. Now you know why there are so few private enterprises in Singapore. I believe more than half of Singaporeans work for government directly or indirectly.

    Now you also know why so many creative minds have left Singapore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. cos the system rewards the stealers and thieves...that's the problem..pap way of doing things...best of all..steal legally too now...lol

      Delete
    2. The system is the stealer.

      Delete
  8. Last time Ho Ching tried to pull out the same stunt on a semicon MNC and got rebuffed.

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  9. Replies
    1. You mean Kan nah sigh?

      Delete
  10. Dirty laundry should not be aired in public.
    By the way the areas below all those blocks of high rise public housing should be declared hazardous zones from the danger of falling objects and hard hats be issued.

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  11. I would like to share a memory.


    In the early days of our IT drive, software piracy was high. There was a drive to educate the public on respecting IP. A private sector company was invited to submit ideas, but in the end its services were not engaged.

    Later on, the company found its ideas implemented - essentially there was a "potong jalan" event, i.e. the fruits of its labour had been hijacked.

    There was an "opinion piece" on this in the papers. But as I have no proof of this article's existence now, so yes, the preceding information should be taken as hearsay, an allegation - and I make that clear right now (the times we live in being as they are).


    But I am personally convinced of the accuracy of this memory.


    Why did this article make such a lasting impression?



    Because:

    The "opinion piece" was a personal experience of the columnist - someone who was in the thick of things. Someone who was, at that time, working in the private sector. And someone who received one of the Highest Scholarships we have to offer.

    One of the I.N.S.I.D.E.R.S that our collective futures will depend on. Appointed by merit, of course.

    The thought that I took away with me, then being young and impressionable, was that "Even the I.N.S.I.D.E.R.S Screw their Own. Wow. Friends.".



    And Also Because:

    The columnist had a very unusual surname, one that I've only seen once before in a commemorative sort-of "foundation stone" of a public library. In later years, this led me to wonder about... certain relationships.

    Much later on, publicly available info convinced me how large and heavy the doors T.H.A.T surname could have opened, even if only as a courtesy to old-time's sake.



    In the present day now, the alleged author of the memorable, alleged article of old is, I believe, spending time helping other young people realise their dreams. And for leisure, observes the night sky, through a telescope, in a location more suited to such pursuits. And helping NASA make minor scientific history too!

    All the while remaining as a Singaporean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is this the way of the Ninja $2 company?

      Delete
  12. They like to borrow ideas only lah but without saying thank you. Pai seh because they have so many smart people who know how to work smart hoh?

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  13. wah, the judge is saying is this: you design a Mercedes with 200% margin of safety, that is not good enough to qualify as innovation, because we only needed 15% margin of safety. In other words, the more idiot proof your design, the less it is suitable for idiots! @#$ lolololol But we all know how the kangaroos work, you never win in big brother land

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. locals cannot win in red dot, unless you are a foreigner... 'one rule for you, one rule for FTs' - pinkie and his pinkleton-syndromed daddy say so

      Delete
  14. Foreigners we worship
    Locals are full of shit
    That is the PAP way
    Man, we are damn suay
    When 2016 comes
    You all know what to do
    PAP comes a knocking on the door
    Just tell them " f_ _k off" hor?


    ReplyDelete