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Looking at the Zynga IPO, A Patent and Business Perspective

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011 @ 5:01 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 9 comments
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Posted in: Business, Facebook, Gene Quinn, Internet, IP News, Articles, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking

After weeks of speculation Zynga, the company known for creating such social games as Farmville, Empires & Allies and Hanging with Friends, has filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The company is expected to raise $2 billion in the IPO, which would create a valuation for the business in the neighborhood of $20 billion.

Zynga, founded in 2007, is the world’s leading social game developer with 232 million average mean monthly active users (MAUs) in 166 different countries. Zynga has launched the most successful social games in the industry in each of the last three years and has generated over $1.5 billion in cumulative bookings.  According to the company they have generated positive operating cash flow since the fall of 2007. During the first quarter of 2011, 94% of Zynga’s $235 million in revenue came from virtual goods, while the remainder was generated by advertising.

Bayh-Dole Compliance Obligations Meet America Invents Act

Posted: Friday, Jul 1, 2011 @ 1:06 pm | Written by Eric Guttag | 11 comments
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Posted in: Congress, Eric Guttag, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patent Reform, Patents, Technology & Innovation, Technology Transfer, US Economy

In going from the current “first to invent” to the new “first to file” regime mandated by the America Invents Act (AIA), much attention has been focused on the amorphous “grace period” provision provided to patent applicants for certain activities undertaken by them prior to filing for a U.S. patent.  Much less attention was paid to the amendments made to sections 203(c)(2) and 203(c)(3) of the Bayh-Dole compliance obligations which were directly impacted by this change in definition from the old “statutory bar” provision (based on publication, on sale, or public use of the invention caused by the patent applicant), to this new “grace period” provision.  But even more astounding (and unsettling) are the unrecognized consequences caused by the AIA in “realistically” meeting certain Bayh-Dole compliance obligations by going from the current “first to invent” to the new “first to file” regime.

Global Innovation Index 2011 – Switzerland Ranks First

Posted: Friday, Jul 1, 2011 @ 12:44 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 4 comments
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, International, IP News, Articles, Technology & Innovation

INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, yesterday announced the findings of The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2011 edition. Partners for the report were Alcatel-Lucent, Booz & Company, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

According to INSEAD, Switzerland is the most innovative country in the world, gaining three spots from its position in last year’s GII. Sweden and Singapore follow in the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively. This year’s rankings include six European economies (including Finland 5th, Denmark 6th, the Netherlands 9th and the United Kingdom 10th), two Asian (including Hong Kong, SAR, China 4th) and two North American economies (the United States 7th and Canada 8th) in the top 10.

Jump the Shark Patent Style: Supremes Take Kappos v. Hyatt

Posted: Thursday, Jun 30, 2011 @ 6:41 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 15 comments
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patents, US Supreme Court

The phrase “jump the shark comes from one particular scene in the television series “Happy Days.”  In the premiere episode for season 5, which aired on September 20, 1977, Arthur Fonzarelli (aka “The Fonz” or “Fonzie”) was challenged to jump a shark.  The water-skiing Fonz successfully jumped the shark and simultaneously spawned a new pop-culture phrase referring to the moment that a television show had run out of ideas.  A television show would “jump the shark” when the peak had been reached and it was believed that everything was downhill from there.  While that was not really a fair characterization of Happy Days given that it enjoyed many more years of popularity, over the years the phrase has broadly become synonymous with the moment when an undeniable decline has commenced.

By accepting cert. in Kappos v. Hyatt the United States Supreme Court has clearly and undeniably jumped the shark in terms of patents.  This case, which raises issues of such little importance to the greater scheme of patent law, is hardly appropriate for Supreme Court consideration.  The Supreme Court is wasting its time hearing this case and denying the slot to a far more important matter, which is nearly unconscionable.

One Year Post-Bilski: How the Decision is Being Interpreted

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 @ 5:27 pm | Written by Michelle Holoubek | 6 comments
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Posted in: Bilski, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Patentability, Patents, USPTO

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court in Bilski v. Kappos.

This week marks the first anniversary of the Supreme Court issuing its decision in Bilski v. Kappos. The decision held that the machine-or-transformation test is not the exclusive test for patent eligibility, and that the three traditional exclusions of natural phenomena, abstract ideas, and laws of nature still apply.

Since that time, 182 decisions involving statutory subject matter eligibility have been issued by the USPTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (“the Board”). District Courts issued 6 decisions in the past year that substantively addressed statutory subject matter under § 101, while the Federal Circuit issued 3 decisions on the subject. The day after Bilski issued, the Supreme Court denied cert in In re Ferguson, and just recently picked up Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs for review.  See Supreme Court Accepts Appeal on Patented Medical Diagnostics.

EPO Again Tops Patent Quality List

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 @ 6:41 pm | Written by Press Releases | 6 comments
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Posted in: International, IP News, Articles, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Patents

Munich, 28 June 2011 — The European Patent Office (EPO) was ranked first for patent quality among the world’s five largest patent offices for the second consecutive year in a survey of corporate and private practice IP professionals conducted jointly by Thomson Reuters and Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine.

The annual benchmarking survey, published in the June issue of the magazine, finds that the EPO leads by a wide margin in terms of perceived patent quality, and has even improved its position over last year.

Antitrust Issues in College Athletics: Should Needle Apply

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 @ 1:04 pm | Written by Beth Hutchens | 4 comments
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Posted in: Antitrust, Beth Hutchens, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Trademark

Earlier this month Dechert LLP, representing an undisclosed number of companies (“stakeholders”),  sent a letter to IMG College (“IMG”) and its licensing division, the Collegiate Licensing Company (“CLC”), and demanded that IMG and CLC cease and desist any efforts to restrict the number of licensees permitted to supply merchandise bearing the brands of various NCAA colleges and universities.  It looks likes trademark and antitrust issues are back on the menu in sports, which makes intellectual property nerds like me very happy.  We all knew American Needle Inc. v. National Football League (“Needle”) would embolden private antitrust suits; it was just a question of when.   But a pivotal question is should Needle be extended to permit private antitrust suits in collegiate athletics?  If the answer to those questions is yes, what would be the purpose at this point?

Facebook Facial Recognition Tool Poses New Security Threats

Posted: Monday, Jun 27, 2011 @ 8:11 pm | Written by Renee C. Quinn | 2 comments
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Posted in: Facebook, Articles, Renee Quinn, Social Media

Although Facebook originally discussed the use of facial recognition technology in a small blog post on the site back in December, it was listed as unavailable until earlier this month.  The social media giant released its new Autotag facial-recognition tool that will allow users to autotag photos of their friends based on what they look like. But what was most odd about this release is that they did so quietly and under the radar with little thought to the risks that could be associated with the tool.  Rather than having the ability to opt-in to this new tool, you have to go into your settings and opt-out.  With more than 500 million active users, even if you choose not to be tagged in photos, it is inevitable that you and perhaps even your small children are being tagged by others without your knowledge.