Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
A Prophet Is Not Without Honour Except In His Own Country
One of the most creative scientists in semiconductors, Jun’ichi Nishizawa, filed a patent applicationfor a PIN diode when he was a 23 year-old graduate student at Tohoku University.
A few days later, Bob Hall of GE filed for a similar patent.
Nishizawa was perturbed when Japanese companies which set out to manufacture PIN diodes preferred to license the GE patent rather than his patent even though the royalties on the GE patent were higher.
He asked the companies why and they told him that their customers would prefer to buy something which said it had been licensed from GE of the US rather than something which had been licensed from Jun’ichi Nishizawa of Tohoku University.
So, 60 years ago, started what many Japanese call Japan’s ‘Galapagos Islands’ mentality – a kind of reverse NIH mind-set – whereby nothing invented locally could be commercialised until it had been validated by being made abroad first.Tags: Bob Hall, japanese companies, Nishizawa, patent, tohoku university