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Cold Callers

I hate cold callers and people who waste my time. My employer’s web site does not list my phone number. That’s on purpose. People whom I have not given my direct dial number have to call the main number and ask the receptionist for me. So when the receptionist wants to patch a call through, I know it’s almost always a cold caller.

Today she says a guy named “Mo” is calling for me. Red flag#1. I know no Mo, so red flag #2. Usually I tell her to put them to my voicemail, but the name “Mo” intrigued me and I was feeling in a mood to mess with a cold coller. I tell her to patch him through.

Mo–he does not give his last name, red flag #3–is some broker for some “patent technology acquisition” group (I forget the name). He wants to know if we have an interest in buying a patent on photonic integrated circuits. Now we make lasers, not PICs. Another red flag.

Curious, I ask him how much they are selling the patent for. He says it has 61 claims and that there is an offer on it already–setting me up for a high number–then says probably only $120K or so, which is not really that high.

I say, well, what’s the patent number? He says he does not have it and I can hear him flipping papers looking for it. He asks me if that’s public information. I.e., if he can find the number is it okay to give it to me. This loser i s asking me for legal advice. So I’m already getting irritated. Why would you call someone to offer to sell a patent but not know the patent number. So it’s clear to me that Arab-accented Mo (probably Mohammed) is just trying to put a deal together. Some stupid broker. Probably unknown to the seller as well as me.

My time already wasted, I decide to eff with him. I ask him why he thinks this would be useful for us. He says he knows we bought an external-cavity laser patent recently, so thought we might want this. This makes no sense. I ask, is there an existing infringer? Do we infringe? Does it cover some practical invention?

He says yes, it covers a practical application and can “help us.” I say, “help us how? We make lasers.” He says, “yeah, it does that.”

“Does what?” I ask. “Makes lasers,” he replies.

“I don’t think so,” I say. “How does an integrated circuit make a laser?”

“Well, the laser goes in it,” he tries to clarify. I say, “I don’t think you understand this technology. That’s okay if you don’t, but just say so.” He gets pissed saying, his Arab accent getting thicker, “You are being rude sir. I have an engineering degree from CalTech and have been in this field for 25 years!” I say, “Well, a photonic integrated circuit does not make lasers, I know that,” and he says, “I went to CalTech” and I reply, “Well, that’s certainly very impressive, but you don’t know the patent number, you don’t know how this applies to our business, you seem to think PICs ‘make’ lasers, which they don’t–all you seem to know is we make lasers and recently bought a laser patent.” He finally loses his patience, and proclaims, “You are rude sir! Rude rude rude! You are a f***ing a**hole!”

Well, at least I didn’t call him to waste his time.

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