PAIR OF DEUCES, PART 3

Did I mention that 1994 was a busy year? Yes, I think I have, many times!

The trade shows that year were a hit! At the INTA trade show, I demoed our storied DOS program for trade marks and snagged a buyer. Too bad a minor bug in the program aborted the sale during the client install.

Soon after that botched installation, Dad and I were back in Washington in June for the AIPLA trade show. What INTA is for trade marks, AIPLA is for patents. That year, we had something that set us distinctly apart from the competition.

I mean, everyone had a DOS management system for patents. That’s where the fun began, of course. And then everyone had a fancy new Windows system as well. Windows had emerged as the ‘it’ system; everyone recognized it as the wave of the future. The version current at that time was Windows 3.1; Windows 95 was still a year away from introduction.

Only Olcott International had a third box, the cyclops eye of a computer system. An Apple Mac and a fully functional patent management system running on it.

HEARTBREAKER

July and August 1992 were interesting times at Olcott International.  I was busy coordinating marketing activities with fellow employee Peggy.  My sister Blair also joined the company for a couple of weeks as she was out of college for the summer; I welcomed her company in yet another attempt to curtail or document Dad’s occasional onslaughts of wild behavior.

Like the time in July 1989 out of the blue one morning he assigned at the last minute a “chore” for me: move 25+ heavy (40 pounds each) 3 x 3 stacks of heavy tiles around the family summer house in Shinnecock Hills, Long Island.  It was beyond my ability.  But no matter.  Later that afternoon, he hunted me down at a friend’s house by telephone to tell me I was disinherited.

Dad was like that.  Apparently, it ran in the family.  Remember my Uncle Ed who out of the blue would also assign overbearing tasks to my cousin Billy and berate him if left uncompleted?

But back to Peggy.  She was a good soul who had a lot of previous experience with legal software and easily did her share of (in this case appropriate) heavy lifting in terms of marketing and support.  At the time, Olcott International sold various versions of patent management software, including ones for DOS, Windows, and Mac!  I learned, and trained clients in, all of them.

The Mac version was a real curiosity.  No one else had it!  Apple’s patent department in Cupertino was definitely intrigued; apparently, they were managing their patent data on a Windows platform, much to their and Steve Jobs’ chagrin.

But in the middle of this patent management business drama appeared a man much like Huntington Hartford or Bobby Edwards.  Out of the blue and completely unexpected.

But in this case, Dr. Wilson Greatbatch was the real deal.  An inventor’s inventor.  The man who had created the pacemaker and who was now going to cure AIDS.  What was he doing in the Weehawken, New Jersey offices of Olcott International?

THE BIGGER IDEA (AS TED’S WINGMAN)

As recounted in my last post ‘THE INTERSECTION,” Dad went back to the patent drawing board in 1998 (at the young age of 80).  He was intrigued by various developments in the America’s Cup race, and as a new member of the New York Yacht Club, he set out to prove his bona fides both as a sailor and as an inventor.  Accompanied by his usual gusto for going with what he knew.  Natch.

By 1998, there had already been four America’s Cup races since the New York Yacht Club lost it in 1983.  A new challenge was pending in 2000 and Dad wanted in.

The race in 1983 had been won by the yacht Australia II due to its specialized keel design.  In fact, when the boat was first brought over from down under, the keel was physically shrouded so that no one could see it!

What was the big secret?