Could Patents and Greed Sink Silicon Valley?

Last Saturday night there was a star laced event which included all of the big wigs of Silicon Valley. The guest speaker was a the former CEO of Intel, Andrew Grove, who painted a picture that Silicon Valley could be heading the way of Wall Street. He cited the transistor as a prime example of what he perceives has gone wrong. When the transistor was invented, AT&T licensed the technology for $25,000, which allowed the industry to flourish.

In an article at C/Net it states the following:

“As we celebrate the accomplishments of the last 50 years, I can’t help but wonder if the next 50 years will be equally productive,” Grove told a crowd at the Computer History Museum. “I’m dubious.”

He also added this:

“The true value of an invention is its usefulness to the public,” he said, quoting Thomas Jefferson. The system in place in the Valley today is moving further and further away from this principle, he added. “Patents themselves have become products. They’re instruments of investment traded on a separate market, often by speculators motivated by the highest financial return on their investment.”

But isn’t this the main problem with our corporate society in all endeavors? ┬áIsn’t it greed that makes the corporate world function without any regard towards the common good?

Why would Silicon Valley be any different?

Comments welcome.