(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)
On December 22, 2001 this man changed the world. He assaulted an airplane with his shoe. Ever since that day and every day since, anyone who travels by airplane can count on long security lines with no shoes on. It was a breakthrough move, both in choice of weapons and the sheer number of people effected. Mr. Reid took a size 15 Air Jordan from the discount rack at Nine West onto the pages of Jane’s Weapons Index. His invention generated hundreds of millions of dollars in security revenue worldwide, legislation in thousands of national and local governments and a name brand recognition that is truly global. Unlike other Intellectual Property (IP) pioneers who are rewarded with lucrative IPO’s and multi-million dollar contracts, Mr. Reid sits in a jail cell, alone.
(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)
Mr. Reid was led to believe that while his attorneys sought to free their client on technicalities, his invention would be protected. Until now.
First, there was this:
Then, there was this:
And now, this:
Richard Reid has had enough. His footwear assault systems have been released into the public domain and Mr. Reid’s attorneys claim that it is costing him tens of thousands of dollars per day in revenue and perhaps even more.
His complaints have started to get attention. One venture capital firm, specializing in IP development has shown calculations that could easily total $250 million in the next two years for licensing, franchising, marketing and retail sales numbers in markets where Mr. Reid has established his name as a brand.
That garnered the immediate attention of several legal firms, vying for a chance to represent Mr. Reid. Defense attorneys are busy redoubling their efforts to campaign for an appeal or pardon and are now being joined as Mr. Reid’s legal counsel by several high-profile IP firms. Their accomplishments read like a ‘murderer’s row’ of heavy hitters, undaunted, fearless and amoral.
- One firm was retained by the RIAA and Media Sentry in their desire to prosecute grandmothers and 12 year-olds while forcing people to pay for and listen to Nickelback, Ashley Simpson and Celine Dion.
- Another firm interested in Mr. Reid’s case has recently concluded a six-year, $1 billion dollar lawsuit on behalf of SCO against IBM over IP violations. Their case was able to impact and obstruct corporate purchases totaling over $2.5 billion dollars in that time. A staggering amount of purchasing in any economy but particularly today’s. The firm was credited with the launch of SCO’s recent strategy of selling off assets to fund litigation. Impressive.
- The most recent firm to enter into agreement with Mr. Reid is not well known in IP law, but has a stellar record in worldwide market manipulation. They represent diamond industry giant DeBeers and have successfully positioned their client into a complete monopoly on diamond purchases worldwide. They have manipulated and engineered 100% exclusive mining, shipping and property rights via a complex structure of holding companies, shell proprietorships, weapons distribution, election management, charitable donations and extremely private investing in key personnel across the globe.
Mr. Reid may be missing even more than revenue. While he sits in jail, he may be missing out on a chance to compete in the free-agent market for Major League Baseball. Teams looking for bullpen help are driving hard bargains for established players. The economy will hit teams hard at the gate and owners are not eager to bankrupt themselves by over-committing to players’ salaries. Teams are looking very seriously for talent on the cheap. The Yankees quickly moved to sign the Iraqi reporter after his workout with George W Bush. At the MLB Winter Meetings, several teams expressed an interest in bringing the other two hurlers in for a workout with their squad.
After his conviction, the future of Richard Reid should have been an easy one to predict. Serving several consecutive life sentences and saddled with enormous debt from punitive fines and legal expenses, Mr. Reid seemed like he would have no options but to sit in his cell alone and rot away. Now, with barely 6 years of jail time served, fate it seems has dealt Mr. Reid a fresh hand.