Recently in the news you may have read that some are questioning the success, viability and wisdom of Universities owning patents, pushing back against University patent rights in order to raise a debate over the usefulness of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. While perhaps predictable it is rather sad given the unquestionable truth that Bayh-Dole has been extraordinarily successful. The Economist wrote: “Possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half-century was the Bayh-Dole act of 1980… More than anything, this single policy measure helped reverse America’s precipitous slide into industrial irrelevance.” Economist Technology Quarterly, Dec. 14, 2002. Lofty praise indeed, but the facts back up the claim.
The facts are overwhelmingly on the side of those who know and understand that Bayh-Dole has been a thorough and profound success. Indeed, if you actually look at the facts no one could ever objectively question whether Bayh-Dole is succeeding or has been good. Yet, year after year supposed experts and scholars choose to ignore the objective data and question whether we should go back to the way it used to be — back when no University technology was commercialized due to the enormous red-tape involved.
This isn’t just a philosophical debate. There is a right and a wrong answer, and to think that the New England Journal of Medicine would aline themselves with the clear and objectively wrong answer would be astonishing if it weren’t so predictable. The agenda of those who despite patents and the progress of science thanks to incentivizing behavior knows no boundaries.
Of course it would be wonderful to live in a world where self-interest takes a back seat to humanitarian efforts and altruism on all occasions; where financial incentives are not required to promote the greater social good. That, however, is not the world we live in and the regimes where this economic philosophy has been tried have unanimously faltered or failed. If we want maximum good for society pursuing a path that results in maximum good ought to be the agenda, not some pollyannish pursuit of the impossible because it feels better or fits into some pre-ordained social narrative that some deem acceptable. Failure for an altruistic reason is still failure, and when we are talking about the economy, jobs and hundreds of life saving treatments and cures the right thing is to do the most good. It is truly a pity that some would choose not to maximize social good simply because it means someone else will make money in the process.
One of the world’s foremost developers of home appliances and electronics systems is the Samsung Group, a conglomerate of many subsidiaries that is headquartered in the South Korean city of Seoul. The company has struck hard times of late, with Reuters reporting that the corporation plans to meet with shareholders to discuss strategies in the face of a 13 percent reduction in stock prices. However, its presence in the electronic device market has been strong as of late, and the company recently announced its plans to release a smartwatch device during the fall of 2013.
The IPWatchdog Companies We Follow series has profiled this South Korean electronics developer in the past, and we’re returning today for another check into the corporations recent operations. We’re profiling a collection of patent applications and issued patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that discuss their various appliance developments that will likely be available soon in the consumer market. What we find is an eclectic mix of computer systems, display devices and even an automated vacuum cleaner.
Improved display devices are featured in a number of USPTO patent applications that we discuss in today’s column, and are an important focus for Samsung. One particular application would protect a display that is capable of providing a cleaner three-dimensional image, while another application would protect an LCD screen that can display a wider viewing angle for users. Other patents and applications we explore show the wide scope of Samsung’s development activities. One patent application describes a motorized robotic floor cleaner that can better clean under furniture. Another patent application has been filed for a system of providing personal health records to medical professionals in a way that better benefits patients. Finally, we look at a recently issued patent that gives Samsung protections over a system of simultaneously translating a voice message into a different language.
From U.S. Patent No. 8,515,829, titled “Tax-free gifting.”
Google Inc. is one of the dominant corporations in the Internet industry. This company is responsible for many popular Internet-based technologies, such as Google Drive and the Android operating system for handheld electronic devices. In early September, the company announced that the one billionth Android device had been activated for use. The company has been making waves in other industries as well, and by 2017 Google hopes to have made self-driving cars commercially available.
In IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we return to take a look at this American-based corporation to see some of the future of Internet technologies we can expect to see come out of Mountain View, California, where Google is headquartered. As always, we take a look at some patent applications and issued patents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and assigned to Google.
A few of the patent applications from Google we’re looking at today focus on improvements to mobile devices of various kinds. One patent application would protect a system of improving security measures for a portable device based on the device’s actual location. Another application would aid the image capture process on a mobile device based on the user’s field of vision. Other patent documents we feature discuss improvements created by applied computer analysis of various network data. One patent application filed by Google would allow users to monetize pictures that they share on social networks. We also explore a patent application that gives advertisers better insight into the demographics of a certain television show’s audience. But the reference that was by far the most eye-catching was an issued patent that gives Google the right to protect a system of paying tax for the recipient of a gift card, instead of that tax being applied to the recipient’s purchases.
Foreign manufacturers of automobiles include many companies with respected brand names within the industry. In fact, the top three automobile manufacturers based on number of vehicles produced in 2011 were Germany’s Volkswagen, Japan’s Toyota Motor Company and South Korea’s Hyundai. As these companies grow in strength and size, many of them, including Toyota and Germany’s Bayerische Motoren Worke, or BMW, are currently contemplating increasing factory operations in North America, especially in Mexico.
Last week we took a look at recent patents of the Big Three U.S. Automakers. Today, as part of our Companies We Follow series, we’re taking a look at a few foreign car makers to get an idea of what we can expect in upcoming vehicle models from overseas. We’ve researched patent applications and issued patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to get some sense about the newest technologies coming from Toyota, BMW and Audi, also of Germany.
Some of these developments aid drivers and improve their routing while out on the road. An issued patent from the USPTO gives BMW rights over a system of broadcasting traffic data to inform drivers about optimal speed based on stoplight schedules and other drivers. An Audi patent application protects an adjustable front-facing camera that can scan various ranges in front of the car to determine obstacles. A Toyota patent application would protect a system of improving routing results based on road work or other road obstacles.
The American auto industry has dealt with trying times recently, most notably with the announcement of Detroit’s Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy. The state of Michigan is home to the group of auto manufacturers known as the Big Three: General Motors in Detroit, MI; Chrysler in nearby Auburn Hills, MI; and Ford, headquartered in Dearborn, a close suburb of Detroit.
However, these companies have been reporting strong gains in the face of larger economic problems plaguing their region. General Motors, having spent a year away from Super Bowl advertising, will be returning to that very recognizable collection of major marketing campaigns during the 2014 game. Current estimates are pricing a 30-second commercial spot at $4 million, up from $3.8 the year prior. Ford has also been showing off its corporate strength, especially in the European market, where a bounceback from corporate losses sustained last year has been increasing hopes for the company.
Today at IPWatchdog in the Companies We Follow Series, we’re looking at the Big Three to see what developmental goals these companies are planning for the future. Many deal with better systems of obtaining vehicle repairs. Ford has been issued a patent pertaining to online service scheduling for vehicle repair. As well, General Motors has filed a patent application for a system of vehicle repair that provides better resources than a typical service manual.
AT&T is a major American telecommunications corporation headquartered in Dallas, TX. The company is a major developer of mobile telephone services for consumers all across the world. Recently, Engadget reported that AT&T would be bringing its high-speed LTE service for 4G phones to 50 markets in the coming weeks, including Fairbanks, AK; Fargo, ND; and Amarillo, TX.
The research and development activities of this corporation can give us an exciting look into the future of smartphones and mobile wireless technologies. Today on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we return to explore recent issued patents and patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Many of these documents that we look through today deal with mobile wireless technology and media presentations. One patent application describes a system of analyzing a person’s geographical location to create a map detailing wireless coverage in the area. Another patent application provides for a system of developing three dimensional media content for images or video. Also, one patent issued by the USPTO protects a system of enhancing phone calls between business acquaintances by providing local news and weather information.
Qualcomm Incorporated is a San Diego-based manufacturer of semiconductors often found in iPhones and similar devices. Qualcomm is also one of America’s leading technology innovators. As you will see below, Qualcomm’s innovation is not limited to semiconductors; they engage in a wide range of innovation and have an aggressive patent protection plan that routinely sees them in the top 10 in number of international patent applications filed. See 2012 top filers page 3.
Today in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re returning to take a look at one of the nation’s most successful technology developers. Three Qualcomm patent applications and issued patents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office recently have focused heavily on mobile device improvements. Two applications pertain to device cameras: one would protect a system of automatic picture taking at events, and another would improve location mapping services based on recognizable venue features. A third patent application we explore here would allow mobile device users to send text messages to 911 or other emergency service providers.
On Monday, August 5, 2013, the the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), a nonprofit association of academic technology transfer professionals, released the highlights of the AUTM U.S. Licensing Activity Survey: FY2012. The AUTM survey shares quantitative information about licensing activities at U.S. universities, hospitals and research institutions.The full report is scheduled for release at the end of the year.
The highlights of the survey reveal that University licensing and startup activity continued to see a robust increase during fiscal year 2012.
Institutions responding to the survey reported $36.8 billion in net product sales from licensed technologies in fiscal year 2012. In addition, startup companies formed by 70 institutions employed 15,741 full-time employees. This was the second year in which AUTM asked questions specifically targeted at ascertaining the economic impact of academic technology transfer.
For many summer weather enthusiasts, this time of year is the best for getting out on the water and surfing the largest waves they can find. Surfboards have been around since the 1940s and have grown in popularity as a summer pastime in coastal areas.
Today in IPWatchdog’s Summer 2013 Fun series, in honor of the ongoing U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, we’re featuring some of the most interesting new patent applications and issued patents related to surfing. Some of these newly devised innovations are designed to help a surfer save their physical energy. One patent application describes a new powered surfboard with a detachable chair for riding far out into a body of water. Another issued patent protects an attachable hard edge that can improve the performance of inflatable surfboards, which are easier to transport. A new four-pointed tail design from a patent application would improve a surfer’s speed and control on the water.
Toyota Motor Corporation, headquartered in Toyota, Japan, is an industry leader for research and development in the automotive industry. The multinational corporation has a strong American presence as well; the Toyota Technical Center is located in Ann Arbor, MI. Recently, the Technical Center held a ceremony to celebrate the corporation’s top inventors for the past year.
The corporation and its subsidiaries were awarded 1,491 patents in 2012, the most for any automobile manufacturer according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association. Of particular note were inventors Minjuan Zhang, a manager at the Toyota Research Institute NA, and Charan Lota, manager at the Toyota Technical Center. Both of these inventors earned, separately, their 20th issued patents during 2012.
Today in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re taking a look at recent Toyota patents to celebrate this incredible output of technological innovation from the Japanese car maker. Two patents we feature here include Zhang and Lota as part of the development team. One patent protects a new multi-layer exterior for vehicles that reflects a wider range of light, providing a vehicle better protection from damaging sunlight rays. Another patent protects a smart calendar system that can inform onboard GPS routing based on regular errands.