The noted investor and Dallas Mavericks owner is perhaps best known for his unfiltered tweets against clumsy NBA officials, who he believes are endangering his star athletes. Now, he’s leveraging his penchant for attention-grabbing headlines with a newly endowed chair at digital civil rights organization, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, dubbed “The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents.”
We interviewed Cuban and the lucky recipient of his donation, Julie Samuels, to better understand his public policy mission. As a journalist, I’m used to public figures giving bland, diplomatic answers that I have to then spice up with sense of scope and purpose. With Cuban, this was not a problem. His answers are so awesomely bold that I’ve decided to leave in their untouched, pristine form. Below each answer, Samuels and I provide more context for those who aren’t patent policy wonks.
Ferenstein: Why did you fund this chair (and where did you get the name)?
Cuban: Because dumbass patents are crushing small businesses. I have had multiple small companies i am an investor in have to fight or pay trolls for patents that were patently ridiculous. There is no place for software patents and most tech patents are not original in the first place. They are merely “remixes” of early technology.
I thought the EFF would be a great starting point to get the message to politicians that patent trolls are costing taxpayers (via trials/motions/etc.) and small businesses money that could otherwise be used for innovation and creating jobs.
I wanted a name that would get attention and not just be another announcement.
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