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Celebrating 15 Years of IPWatchdog.com

On October 10, 1999, IPWatchdog.com first went live on the Internet. It has been an honor and privilege to get to know so many wonderful people in our industry over the last 15 years, to talk to many industry leaders on the record, and to in some small way continue to push the debate forward. Thanks to our readers and contributors we have been recognized as as one of the top 100 legal blogs by the American Bar Association for 5 years in a row. For 3 of the last 4 years (2010, 2012, 2013) we were recognized as the top intellectual property law blog according to the ABA. In January 2014 we were also honored to be inducted into the ABA Blawg Hall of Fame. CLICK HERE to read more.


Most Recent Articles on IPWatchdog.com


The Cost of Not Having Patent Protection

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Fatih Ozluturk | No Comments »

How many patent applications has your company filed today?

Facebook filed at least one patent application today, Oracle filed about 3, Google filed about 5, Microsoft and Apple filed more than 8 each, IBM filed nearly 30 patent applications just today. These are the recent averages per workday anyways. Currently Facebook has more than 450 pending applications, Google has about 3500, Oracle has 3700, Apple has 7000, and Microsoft has 30,000 pending applications. I picked these names to come up with the averages because these names have software heavy portfolios, the type of patents that have been feeling some pressure from both the anti-patent circles and from the Supreme Court – as has been amply covered by IPWatchdog.

If you are a typical new economy small tech company with software and internet centric technology or products, the number of patent applications your company filed today is probably zero. Of course filing and prosecuting patent applications is not cheap and that’s part of the explanation. However it is worth noting that most of the successful companies with software-heavy products, including those in the list above, have been filing patent applications from their very early days. An excellent recent article at IPWatchdog revealed that even an overtly anti-patent company such as Twitter has been indeed filing patent applications from its very early days and have been accumulating a large portfolio through further acquisitions. The fact is that patent protection is a hallmark of a successful innovative business, whether the product is software or not. So, it is startling to see the difference in attitude of the small innovators and the already successful large innovators when it comes to protecting their inventions.





A Bright Future: The Current State of Solar Technology Development

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »

Alternative forms of energy for the generation of electricity is a topic we focus on from time to time here at IPWatchdog. Recently, a team of scientists working at Ohio State University created the world’s solar battery, which includes a solar cell and a battery within a singly hybrid device. These batteries, which could achieve a length of charge comparable to other rechargeable batteries, achieves a cost reduction in utilizing solar energy of about 25 percent. It also reduces the need for any process of transmitting electricity from a solar cell to a battery, in which up to 20 percent of electrons are successfully transmitted to the battery.

The development of a solar battery, a major advancement in the field of solar energy utilization, is only one of the indicators of increased solar development in the past few months. Some municipalities in the United States are electing to develop community solar farms which can produce amounts of electricity that reach into the hundreds of thousands of kilowatts annually. Major solar panel manufacturers, such as SolarCity, are developing loan programs to help solar customers gain ownership of the solar panels outright over the course of years. Door to door sales of solar are also incredibly high, and Vivint Inc., a Utah-based solar developer, has sold units to 22,000 customers, mainly on the strength of house calls.





Fujitsu’s Patents: Processing, Virtual Machines & Biometrics

Posted: Monday, Oct 20, 2014 @ 12:50 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments

Computing technologies are the main field of development for Fujitsu Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, and the corporation’s diverse scope of innovation involves the creation of microelectronics, telecommunications systems and cloud computing services. Recently, Fujitsu announced that it would partner with the Japanese government to design an exascale machine, a computing device operating at 1,000 petaflops, a computing speed which is 30 times faster than the industry leading supercomputer today. In a theme we’ll see repeated in today’s Companies We Follow column, Fujitsu is also deeply invested in the development of biometric technologies, including the creation of authentication technologies in casino and gambling environments. A coalition of organizations including Fujitsu has also just created an optical transmissions technology capable of transmitting data at speeds of 400 gigabytes per second up to distances of 10,000 kilometers.

We return to the patent databases of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to scope out recent innovation from Fujitsu in today’s article. In viewing Fujitsu’s recently filed patent applications, we saw a multitude of inventions in the field of information processing, whether for the analysis of computing processes or virtualization of computing resources on physical servers. A couple of biometrics innovations are discussed, including a system of electrodes meant to detect and prevent a vehicle driver from becoming drowsy. Methods for enhanced online classroom discussions are also explored.





The Ebola Outbreak and Current State of Vaccine Development

Posted: Monday, Oct 20, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | No Comments »

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration argues that, “American consumers benefit from having access to the safest and most advanced pharmaceutical system in the world.” The system set in place to approve pharmaceutical drugs, medications and vaccines provides for immense scrutiny of the effects of the medication on a subject well before that drug ever comes up for sale. Although the FDA and its Center for Drug Evaluation and Research do not conduct pharmaceutical testing themselves, they require testing and review data from these studies that are attached to new drug applications, or NDAs.

The system is good at developing effective pharmaceuticals, from vaccines to antibiotics. It is not good at producing those products either cheaply or quickly. One of the world’s biggest current issues is how to develop a solution to the growing threat posed by the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine, along with other effective treatments, have been gaining steam at research laboratories in America and across the globe.

In the past, researchers have developed an Ebola vaccine for monkeys and macaques, which are also affected by strains of the Ebola virus. The vaccine is so effective that many monkeys can be brought back to health even when injected with 100 times the lethal dose of Ebola after vaccination. However, with HIV, tuberculosis and many other diseases claiming more lives every year, research focus on Ebola has been low in recent years. So how long does it take a typical vaccine to go from concept to reality?





The High Cost of Making Pharmaceuticals

Posted: Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 @ 2:17 pm | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | 6 comments

The process of developing a drug is incredibly expensive and costs have skyrocketed over the past few decades. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the cost for developing a single new drug, including money spent on researching unsuccessful drugs which don’t pass FDA screening, was $1.2 billion in the early 2000s, up from about $140 million during the 1970s. Estimates released in August 2013 by Forbes indicate that the price of developing a single drug is about $5 billion per medicine accepted by the FDA.

A large reason for these high costs is the incredibly high rate of failure during drug development. About 95 percent of all pharmaceuticals researched for use in humans fail to achieve the effectiveness and safety standards required for FDA approval, according to Forbes estimates. During 2013, the companies represented by PhRMA spent a total of $48.5 billion on research and development activities related to pharmaceutical drugs.

Another reason for the high costs associated with taking a drug to market is the fact that there is a complicated regulatory process. According to the Burrill Report , the rising costs associated with drug development can be explained, at least in part, due to regulatory barriers in place that slow approval and place many hurdles between the drug and the marketplace. “In the 2000s, that time grew to 13.5 years from just 6 years in the 1970s,” the Burrill Report explained.





Announcements: Scholarships, Events & More

Posted: Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »

From time to time I am asked to help spread the word about various things. At the present we don’t have an efficient mechanism to do this, but we are currently redesigning the website and will have more flexibility soon.

In any event, here are a few announcements and events worth knowing about.

 

Happy Hour with Gene Quinn
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 5pm to 7pm, Morristown, NJ

I will be attending meetings in Morristown, NJ, on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. One of my sponsors, Innography, will be sponsoring the free happy hour event. If you are interested in attending please RSVP here.

Innography, offers a proprietary suite of products combines unique correlation and visualization technologies to seamlessly integrate patent data with financial, litigation, market, and other key business information. The programs are always excellent, and the event will likely attract close to 2,500 attorneys from all over the world, as well as many service providers.





The Importance of Keeping an Expansive View of the Invention

Posted: Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 @ 2:25 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 3 comments

Although many inventors believe otherwise, drafting a patent application is not an easy endeavor. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has described a patent application as one of the most difficult legal instruments to create. There are a great many pitfalls and perils that face anyone who drafts a patent application, particularly inventors who are not intimately familiar with the patent laws and regulations that will apply.

Attorneys are frequently very good at telling would-be entrepreneurs exactly what they should do, but if you have never been an entrepreneur it can be easy to lose sight of the universal truth that no matter how well funded you may be there is never enough money to afford to do everything that needs to be done. Indeed, even if you carefully plan a budget as an entrepreneur you really have to multiple whatever you think you need by a factor of at least 2 or 3 because things will cost more than you assume even if your projections are conservative. For example, it will come as a shock for many entrepreneurs that the cost of electricity for a business is far greater than the cost of the same electricity for a residential customer.





10 Business-Oriented Rules for Achieving IP Lawyering Excellence

Posted: Friday, Oct 17, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Raymond Millien | 2 comments

Over the course of my legal career, I have had the opportunity to work at a small law firm, a mid-size intellectual property (IP) boutique, a large international law firm, and in-house at a startup company and two Fortune® 100 companies. During that journey, I have had a fair number of clients, staff members and managers, and have been fortunate to glean various nuggets of wisdom from my interactions with all of them. I now share those learnings – distilled into ten business-oriented rules – that in my humble opinion amount to excelling as an IP legal practitioner. While some of the following rules may sound a bit cliché, my explanations below are an attempt to craft them as powerful reminders that an IP lawyer is nothing without the clients/managers who are willing to pay their fee/salary. Thus, no matter whether your law firm billing rate is $200 or $1,200 per hour, or your in-house salary is $50,000 or $350,000 per year, these ten rules apply!

For the naysayers reading this, I will admit at the onset that there are differences in lawyering to a start-up versus an SME or even a large, multinational corporation. I further admit there are also differences in lawyering to entities that operate in different industries (e.g., automotive versus financial services). But these differences mainly involve specific legal knowledge and strategy, not in the general approach to lawyering itself. Now, onto the rules!





25 Years Since Galileo: A Recent Look at NASA Technologies

Posted: Friday, Oct 17, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »

Artists rendering of a Galileo fly by.

October 18 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1989 launching of the Galileo spacecraft by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a mission which focused on the study of the planet Jupiter and its moons. Galileo provided NASA researchers with data leading to the discovery of the ocean on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, and provided the first ever recorded images of a comet striking a planet before the mission was terminated on September 21, 2003. Data collected by the Galileo spacecraft is still leading to a better understanding of our solar system, as researchers recently announced evidence of shifting plate tectonics on Europa, the first time this has been witnessed anywhere other than earth.

For decades, the operations of NASA have been incredibly innovative and inspirational to inventors of all kinds. The agency is still involved in various programs for scientific research, especially involving Mars. NASA recently announced a partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to work collaboratively on future missions to explore Mars. NASA is also moving towards a scheduled December launch date for an unmanned mission involving the Orion capsule to test its crew safety systems; Orion could be launched with astronauts aboard by 2021.





Former Google Executive Nominated as PTO Director

Posted: Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 @ 6:36 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 12 comments

Michelle Lee

Earlier today President Barack Obama nominated Michelle Lee to be the next Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Lee has been serving as Deputy Director of the USPTO since January 2014.  Previously, she served at USPTO as the Director of the Silicon Valley Office from 2012 to 2013, a USPTO satellite office that still has not opened and will not open until early 2015.

Immediately prior to becoming Director of the un-opened Silicon Valley Patent Office, from 2003 to 2012, Lee was the Deputy General Counsel and Head of Patents and Patent Strategy at Google Inc. Google has been a outspoken critic of the U.S. patent system and based on their public positions and lobbying it is clear that the company would like to see software patents abolished and the patent system significantly curtailed. Recently other large Silicon Valley companies have split with Google and have started to work to promote the importance of patents as a tool for American innovation.