It is rather simplistic to view Intel (INTC) as a traditional engineering company that will now become a marketing company ("Inside Intel," Cover Story, Jan. 9). As Peter F. Drucker reminds us, innovation and marketing are the necessary elements of growth. We know what happened, for example, to Hewlett-Packard, (HPQ) and earlier to Compaq, when they strayed from their engineering roots. Intel has always been adroit in both areas. The "Intel Inside" effort, for example, branded successfully something that no one ever sees and very few comprehend. The legacy of Andrew S. Grove is to always look for high-value-added products and to make sure they are marketed as such. There is no reason to believe that a change in its leadership's background will change that basic strategic element, or to think that Intel will not prosper in the future.
As a stock analyst at an "active" asset-management firm, I found "Should the Dow ditch General Motors (GM)?" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Jan. 9), on the merits of GM's remaining in the Dow Jones industrial average, a great boost for the cause of active portfolio management. Maybe some of those Diamond Trust ETF investors should come across to the "alpha generation" side -- the fees are quite competitive these days. Surely it's better to own stocks based on fundamentals, rather than those chosen by The Wall Street Journal editors?
"The patent epidemic" (Legal Affairs, Jan. 9) indirectly referenced a recent ruling on my patent application. My invention is a low-tech use of money to eliminate collusion among business firms. Since my invention does not use a high-tech computer, some in the patent office viewed it as a no-tech invention, rather than a low-tech invention. In Ex parte Lundgren, the appeals board correctly ruled that there is no separate "technological arts" requirement for a patentable invention. Even after this ruling, a patentable invention must still be a useful thing or a useful activity of some kind, not simply an abstract idea.
In response to a public outcry that arose a few years ago over the patenting of seemingly obvious business methods (for example, one-click purchasing), the Patent Office instituted the practice of two-level review of all business-method inventions. In addition, the Patent Office has improved its business-related databases. For these reasons, a "junk patent" on an obvious business method is less likely to be issued today.
Economist and President
Relpromax Antitrust Inc.
I read your recent "China's B-school boom" (Global Business, Jan. 9) with alarm and concern. There is a tremendous difference between providing high-quality education to students in the U.S. and offering the same services to foreign competitors in India or China. These two large countries and several technically sophisticated European/ex-Soviet countries potentially could have a permanent and very unfavorable impact on the lives and fortunes of many workers in the U.S.