Texas Monthly article, October 2014. Patent Trolls of the Piney Woods
In my latest Texas Monthly column, I discuss how the tiny East Texas town of Marshall became a haven for patent trolls. One of the few things that Barack Obama and Antonin Scalia may agree on is that Marshall may be the worst thing that ever happened to intellectual property law. Not surprisingly, the locals don't see it that way.
"Corporate executives across the world are familiar with Marshall, a town of 24,000 people about twenty miles west of the Louisiana border that over the past couple of decades has become the unlikely patent litigation capital of America. More than 1,500 patent cases were filed in Marshall last year, compared with about 1,300 in the entire state of Delaware, the jurisdiction in which most U.S. companies are incorporated. For more than a decade Marshall juries have meted out billions of dollars in patent awards for and against some of the world’s biggest high-tech companies. Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard are just a few of the household names that have spent time in the Sam B. Hall Jr. federal courthouse."Read more
I'm now writing a monthly column for Energy Voice, a website devoted to the global energy industry. My first topic: an interview with former Yukos executive Bruce Misamore about the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR ordered Russia to pay $2.5 billion related to the seizure Yukos a decade ago, and Misamore has been involved in the case from the beginning. The judgment is the largest in the court's history. You can read more here to find out why Misamore doesn't think it's nearly enough to make Yukos shareholders whole. And keep watching for more exclusives on the energy business.
11/18/2014 Why Oil Is Not Like Bourbon
Writing in The Upshot, Neil Irwin argues that oil producers could learn some things from Kentucky bourbon distillers as plunging crude prices send ripples of uncertainty through the energy industry. As someone who's consumed a fair amount of both liquids, I was intrigued, but Irwin's comparison falls flat.
Certainly, there would be benefits to taming the volatility that dominates the global oil market. Crude prices have tumbled 30 percent since the summer, companies are scaling back capital budgets and consolidation is underway, most notably with Halliburton's $35 billion bid for rival Baker Hughes.
Irwin proposes that the bourbon industry could offer a lesson in how to ward against such volatility. Like oil, bourbon has a long lag between the initial investment in new supply and the finished product, he argues.
My latest book,The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, was released in April, 2012. This is a very personal story for me, but also one I think you'll find interesting. In some ways, it's a book I wrote a little more each time someone asked me the seemingly simple question: "What does your father do?"
View the video below the see the reconstruction of the Kyrenia Ship
Interested in knowing more about the latest developments in energy and nautical archaeology? I've compiled two magazines on Flipboard, Energy Insights and Nautical Discoveries. They collect news from around the web, as well as my own posts on these subjects. If you're already a Flipboard user, you can simply search on the magazines' names at the login page. If you have any news links to add to either magazine, or you have any ideas for how to improve them, please let me know.