Yesterday, I gave Intellectual Ventures’ founder Nathan Myhrvold a bit of a hard time, insinuating that all of his humanitarian double-talk was nothing but a cover for his well-oiled patent trolling machine. It seems I have judged him prematurely. After his feel-good session with Walt Mossberg at D10 yesterday, Myhrvold was caught backstage by All Things Digital’s Katie Boehret, where he talked about one of the innovations that has been brewing for years at IV – one that will finally be released to the world for the betterment of mankind.
Was it the laser-powered mosquito-zapper poised to eradicate malaria? Or the hurricane-busting Salter Sink, a wave-powered pump that diffuses the energy of hurricanes?
It was a cookbook. Myhrvold talked about his upcoming Modernist Cuisine.
Now before you get feisty, you have to understand what’s being released here: used properly (and with the payment of the appropriate royalties), a cookbook can feed billions. Hunger pandemic: SOLVED. He was even gracious enough to provide Boehret with an excerpt from his book:
Eggs Benedict à la Myhrvold (U.S. Patent # 8,188,299)
1. Borrow 3 eggs from neighbor across the street.
2. Wait for next door neighbor to cook breakfast.
3. Tell neighbor you hold the intellectual property for “eggs” and demand he pay a licensing fee for his omelette.
4. Use proceeds to have Le Bernardin cater your brunch.
Although I wasn’t able to capture any footage from Boehret’s chat, I did find a press photo of Myhrvold at a recent book signing: