Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

A Change in Fortune – II

Weston, Chestwick, & Fillmore prided itself on being the most profitable think tank in the country. The firm averaged roughly two thousand patents every year produced by a team it dubbed the Invention Squad. It had yet to manufacture a single item claimed by these patents. Instead, the firm’s revenue came from their Patent Enforcement Squad. If a corporation tried to produce items covered by any of these patents, PES would approach it with the appropriate claim. To avoid litigation, the corporation almost always ended up paying a generous licensing fee to the firm.

Ravi had been a member of the Invention Squad and, during the summer of 2007, had filed half of the firm’s patents for the year. The list included everything from a body compactor for fitting into economy airline seats better to a process for infusing raisins with water, which he called the Black Grape. The event earned Ravi quite the reputation within the company. At the holiday office party, the executives at the firm awarded him with a bag of black grapes, which turned out not to be the result of his infusion process but simply grapes mixed with food coloring. They tasted funny, but Ravi savored every one.

As he recalled those moments now with nostalgia, Ravi wasted no time in typing a response:

Hey Harris,

Good to hear from you! I’d be happy to chat over lunch, and Tuesday works well. Shall we meet in the lobby at noon?


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