Sunday, February 24, 2008

There's only one Ieuan

Just watching Ieuan talking about yesterday's match on BBC Wales. He's just said that "Wales cannot afford to sit back on their oars". Incomparable.


alanindyfed said...

He's right you know.
Oars are pretty uncomfortable to sit on, and Wales should sit up and row the boat to victory....
in all senses!

Prasit said...

David makes a very good point, shameno one else picks up on the subjects.
Shame on the Assembly!!

Glyn Davies said...

alan - If Ieuan says something, its right in my book. He's terrific.

Prasit - David makes a very good point. Probabaly the most damaging decision by the Assembly Government in 1999 was not to go down the same healthcare route as England and focus on bringing the waiting lists down. I still have regular calls about the poorer access to treatment that exists in Wales compared with England - included a heart breaking telephone call today. But you should write 'Shame on the Assembly Government'.

anon - I've not allowed your comment because it makes a legally risky allegation against my local MP. For what its worth I agreed with everything else in your post, including your support for the great Ieuan.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I did a fair bit of rowing on mother Thames, at Putney. We (me and my compatriots from an Inner London Comprehensive - my Welsh father was made redundant from the "Welsh steelworks" and move the family to London in search of work) ... anyway, we would row between the bridge east of Fulham football ground and Harrods’s Depository I guess about a mile or so west of football ground. So I know what it means to "catch a crab" (an oar miss-fire). The reason I took bow position was to avoid having an oar going into my back from the guy behind me.

Frankly, Ieuan is catching several crabs – he’s a multicrabist. By paying lip service to WIP (the need, not for 'speed', but the need to protect Welsh grown Intellectual Property). Ieuan has yet to make a meaningful connection between "property" and "take-away" absent patent protection.

Meanwhile, Wales PLC (through its funded universities) is not doing wonderfully in the job/wealth-creation stakes. The time when Wales could rely on jobs in manufacturing and coal mining has gone. Wales needs to harness its enormous spending on science research by converting such research into patents and commercial investment, but absent patent protection there is nothing to invest in since any Tom, Dick or Harry can copy, make, use, distribute Welsh innovation without any worry about a patent infringement suit, and Wales EXPORTS jobs and DESTROYS its future tax base. Welcome to Ieuan's world ...

Glyn Davies said...

christopher - I don't see why you should pick on one of our national treasures.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

... the day is yet young. (Five hour time difference). I gather our 'national treasure' thinks America is limited to NYC. Somebody should tell him there are 50 states to the Union and some other territories too. I honestly despair at the rate of IP leakage out of Wales - a single university in Chicago has more patents than the entire set of universities in Wales. More particularly, a university in Chicago (Chicago University) which is only a fraction of the size of all the universities in Wales combined, has at least five times more issued patents than all the universities combined. I gave a talk at Chicago University's IP department; guess what, it was headed up by a graduate from the UK, and one of the senior staff had worked in Amersham International's site just north of Cardiff within sight of Castle Coch.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

... I'm still getting warmed up, Chicago University doesn't even have an engineering department - no electrical/mech/civil engineering departments yet it has over 5 times the number of issued patents than all of the universities in Wales combined. Take Cardiff, it has Mech/Elec/Civil engineering departments, plus MINEX; Swansea has several engineering departments including a Chemical Engineering Department ... etc. etc. etc.

Y oh Y is Wales unable to harness its' IP? Answer: WAG.

WAG is squandering the future tax base of Wales. Imho, it is border-line criminal negligence. When I make trips to Wales - it is next to impossible to see anyone at WAG able to understand this issue, the place seems full of ex-social workers, union guys, ex-government workers. Frankly, in today's global economy, Wales can ill afford a lame duck WAG. But that is what Wales has got, a lame duck WAG.

The only AM able to understand the issue was Prof. Phil Williams - and he died a couple of weeks or so later in less than, shall we say, space-aviation surroundings.

Ian said...

Dr Wood,

I wonder if there is any chance of you getting off your hobby horse and moving back? I am getting a little bored of your snipes from across the water and have far more time for Welsh men and women who are prepared to try to change Wales for the better, from within its borders.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting, disrespectful remark about Phil Williams. Who is this Wood creep? Why do you allow him to behave like that?

Glyn Davies said...

Ian - if Christopher moved back to Wales, he could stand for the National Assembly against Johnny Foreigner's None Of These Turkeys party. I let Christopher comment on the same basis as everyone else. No-one is forced to read what he posts.

anon - I, too had a great regard for the late Phil Williams, but what happened happened, and it was widely reported. I couldn't see any reason to censor the comment. Whether I wanted the comment to be made is another matter.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Ian, in Glaswegian, “That’s you told”. Anyway, I have probably done a lot more than the average person in Wales to publicize the Welsh Assembly Government’s miserable failure in prioritizing the protection of Welsh Intellectual Property (WIP). I have many letters about this issue; some have been published and read by thousands of Welsh people, including many WAG AMs. I traveled thousands of miles to meet the late Professor Phil Williams who had the Welsh Economy brief (Plaid Cymru). I have also written countless emails to several AMs, even a few to Lib-Dem AMs, especially when the Welsh Lib-Dems were joined at the hip with Welsh Labour. I have offered (directly to Prof. Phil Williams) my time and energy, I offered to travel back to WAG to give talks and run some workshops on the importance of Welsh IP and the need to protect it, and how this is done in the USA, how research universities in the USA protect their IP output, and what they and the country gain from it. I pointed out that the only real advantage we have over cheap labour markets is our inventive ability, but if we don’t protect it then we donate it to the world, something that a small country like Wales can ILL AFFORD TO DO, particularly when it ‘enjoys’ the lowest rates of pay in the UK and is over dependent on handouts.

Again: if anyone is listening at the WAG: I am willing to travel thousands of miles to give WAG AMs IP insights based on my hard earned knowledge working before the American patent office on behalf of inventors and companies (background: I was working at a lab in a lab complex (I was a postdoc at a British university) that offered some bench space and lab support because the bug I needed to work with on some molecular biology experiments required a level of containment not available in the university’s labs; the lab complex had its own library where I stumbled across a book that was going to change my life, it was a learned book on protecting American IP, this made me think hard about Welsh IP, and I set myself on a path to learn all I can about protecting IP from the most successful country, the USA, I sacrificed just about everything, my science career, my love for private sector orientated research, contact time with my beloved mother and my beloved Wales, and moved to the USA not to do a postdoc via a J1 visa, but to get a Green Card and work in an American law firm, and after doing a lot of grunt work (which included sending letters and my resume to every patent lawyer I could find, and I got invited by three law firms specializing in IP, one of them wanted to hire me on the spot, but I had to get a Green Card, it took me about two months to get the Green Card and another month to pack up and move to the USA, I put myself through the rigors of a US law school, passed the Bar and then the patent Bar and started my own law firm on the East Coast (but it’s cost me so much personal sacrifice, I turned down $150k job opportunities to run on nearly empty gas, it’s very hard starting your own law firm from scratch with little savings (none actually, I spent all my money getting a law degree, I am hell bent on finally bringing back to Wales the skills and knowledge that it needs to boost its IP protection, but so far I admit I have not achieved that goal); meanwhile I have a small staff (people who depend on me) in a law firm near the United States Patent Office, I have drafted and filed over 200 patent applications at my own firm, and probably around 50 or so for other law firms, including three for one of the world’s largest companies, one of which was a high-tech biotech patent that was filed in 30 different countries – I guess the value of that patent runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. I now have critical (critical to Wales) information and experience on protecting IP in a country that is very good at protecting its IP. Wales is appalling bad at protecting its IP, it makes good sense to invite me to run a workshop or seminar at WAG, something I put to Professor Phil Williams, but he died a few weeks later in a brothel, which sort of summed up WAG’s feelings about protecting Wales most important asset: Welsh IP, but its not IP until it is protected!

Ian said...

Dr. Wood. Your ability to summarise is about as convincing as your Glaswegian. I knew Phil fairly well and like many others, frequently had to ask him to dum down his arguments due to his genius. We all miss him and quite what point you are trying to make by repeating where he died, I just don't know.

I do read your letters in the Western Mail and as someone who feels so passionate about your subject, why not get an article in there? You clearly have something to say and it beats reading about what the Welsh rugby team's WAGs are wearing.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Ian> a summary for you: Plaid Cymru literally put a brothel ahead of protecting Welsh Intellectual Property.

Ian said...

Dr. Wood. A rather silly and undignified comment that is hardly likely to appeal to any politican in Wales. I suspect that your attidude may well explain the inability to communicate your message.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Ian> so your pattern is revealed, “attack the messenger” with the disingenuous hope that the critically important message will go away. Is it your view that Wales should not develop its intellectual property to make Wales the independent nation it deserves to be?

Plaid claim they are for a more independent Wales, yet they ignore the issue of protecting Welsh Intellectual Property. It’s not property until it is protected. Right now Wales is bleeding its future tax base. The opportunity cost is very high indeed. If I sound frustrated sometimes is it because it is very difficult watching Wales being so mismanaged?

Plaid Cymru is in denial about the state of the Welsh economy, as Professor Dylan Jones-Evans recently wrote, “Yet again, we are witnessing the old political trick of spinning one selective positive statistic which suits a government’s immediate needs, whilst the overall state of the Welsh economy is conveniently ignored.” (“The Ostrich and the Phoenix”.)

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans adds:

“We (Wales) have the lowest amount of R&D private sector spending of any UK region, the lowest mean weekly full-time earnings in the UK and, only a few days ago, productivity per job in Wales was revealed to be lower than any other part of the UK. Thousands of well-paid manufacturing jobs have been lost and the amount of capital expenditure being brought into Wales by foreign firms - the most important component in improving productivity - has declined.

That is hardly the foundation for a strong knowledge-based economy and even the one bright light on our innovation potential, namely the university sector, is facing massive cutbacks as the number of applicants to Welsh institutions has taken a dramatic fall of over ten per cent since last year (as opposed to a seven per cent increase across the UK).”

Peter Hain has recently commented that Wales’s priorities should be, inter alia: “securing graduate retention” and “competing in the high added-value areas, like financial services, electronics, nanotechnology, biosciences, molecular mechanics and ICT, with many more start-ups and high-tech businesses. Many of these “start-ups and high-tech businesses” can only happen if the associated Intellectual Property (IP) is patent protected.

Absent IP protection there is no IP.

No outside business answerable to shareholders is going to commercially develop a new idea or discovery if it isn’t protected in some way (usually through the venue of patent protection).

The stats clearly show that Wales’s universities, with one notable exception, are underperforming in this regard and the government must take responsibility for this ongoing intellectual property leakage.

Plaid Cymru are in government so they are now responsible for allowing this leakage to continue.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

... and Ian, I stand by my statement, Plaid Cymru literally put a brothel ahead of protecting Welsh intellectual property. That's how much Plaid Cymru values Welsh Intellectual Property - I hope they take action to stop Welsh IP leakage. It's not Welsh Intellectual Property until it is protected.