“This report provides further evidence that America’s technology transfer system established by the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 is a key underpinning of our innovation economy,” stated BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood.
Bayh-Dole enables the patenting and commercialization of federally-funded university and non-profit institution research. Bringing these discoveries from the lab to the marketplace creates new products, new jobs and new companies that expand the economy and improve the nation’s health and quality of life. The BIO study documents the significant return on investment that U.S. taxpayers receive by funding basic scientific research in the academic and non-profit worlds through the Bayh-Dole Act, which The Economist has referred to as the most significant and successful piece of domestic legislation since the end of World War II.
IPXI is a a financial exchange that facilitates non-exclusive licensing and trading of intellectual property rights with market-based pricing and standardized terms. At the core of the business model is what IPXI calls a “Unit License Right” or ULR. According to IPXI, “ULR contracts transform private licensing of technology into consumable and tradable products, allowing for improved market transparency, smooth technology transfers, and increased efficiencies.” Essentially, ULR contracts will eliminate the inefficiencies that plague traditional bilateral licensing efforts because the exchange will act as an intermediary between patent owners and potential licensees, with rights being exchanged on an open market.
Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization, Tim Yeend, and Director General Francis Gurry (Photo: WIPO/Berrod)
Geneva, June 15, 2012 — Australia and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today signed an agreement detailing how an AUD$2 million Australian contribution would assist least-developed and developing countries improve their intellectual property systems.
Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization, Tim Yeend, said Australia’s contribution built upon existing cooperation between WIPO and IP Australia in relation to the provision of IP-related technical assistance and capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region.
Geneva, June 15, 2012 — The stage is set for a new international treaty that would extend the protection for audiovisual performers, granting them both economic and moral rights similar to those already recognized for music performers. Over 500 negotiators from WIPO’s 185 member states, as well as actors, industry and other stakeholder organizations will meet in Beijing from June 20 to 26, 2012 to finalize discussions on an international treaty to update the intellectual property rights of audiovisual performers, such as film and TV actors and actresses. The meeting will be opened on June 20, 2012 at the China World Hotel by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and high ranking Chinese State and Beijing Municipality officials.
The Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, convened by WIPO and hosted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, is the culmination of over twelve years of negotiations. It is expected to result in a treaty that will strengthen the economic rights of many struggling film actors and other performers and could provide extra income from their work. It will potentially enable performers to share proceeds with producers for revenues generated internationally by audiovisual productions. It will also grant performers moral rights to prevent lack of attribution or distortion of their performances.
Information on the world’s specialized intellectual property courts can now be found in one place. The Study on Specialized Intellectual Property Courts, a joint effort published by the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is the first study to catalog the world’s specialized intellectual property court regimes. Not surprisingly, the study concludes that governments around the world should adopt some form of specialized IPR court to handle intellectual property cases. Specialized IPR courts were found to enhance efficiency, lead to more timely resolution and foster more consistent rulings and outcomes. Such courts are also an important signal to individuals and industry that a country takes intellectual property enforcement seriously, which we in the industry know is a precursor to economic development and outside investment.
In order to assist researchers in their efforts to compare countries’ respective regimes, the International Intellectual Property Institute is hosting an interactive map of the study’s results on its website.
Bruce Lehman, Chairman and President of the International Intellectual Property Institute and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director of the USPTO, praised the study’s publication saying: “Effective rule of law is essential to the stability of the global intellectual property rights system. This study provides countries considering implementing specialized court regimes with the accumulated knowledge of the world’s most effective intellectual property institutions.”
On April 12 an op-ed was published in the Wall Street Journal entitled Patent Trolls vs. Progress by Andy Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager. I would like to correct some inaccuracies. Mr. Kessler attributes Microsoft’s recent purchase of AOL’s patents and Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility (presumably for its patents) as protection against non-practicing entities (“NPEs”) also disparagingly known as “patent trolls.”
First, no portfolio of patents will ever protect against an NPE. This is because an NPE, by definition, does not produce a product. In a patent litigation between two companies, the typical scenario is that company A owns a patent and attempts to license that patent to company B that it believes is infringing. Company B can pay a fee to company A or it can refuse to pay. Or company A may attempt to get an injunction against company B to prevent it from selling its product that incorporates the invention described by the patent. If company A wants an injunction or requests a fee that company B refuses to pay, then company A will almost certainly take company B to court. At that point, company B takes some combination of three possible countermeasures. Company B can attempt to show that the patent is invalid. Company B can attempt to show that its product does not infringe the patent. Company B can countersue company A for infringement of some patent of its own. Typically after months of threats, legal maneuvers, and negotiations, the companies will settle on some payment from one company to the other. The cases rarely go to court. Now suppose that company A is an NPE. Company B’s third option of countersuing is not an option because company A produces no product and thus cannot infringe on any patent. Thus buying patents provides zero defense against an NPE, contrary to what Mr. Kessler asserts.
Commerce Secretary John Bryson announces the release of the USPTO/ESA study on Intellectual Property and jobs at the White House.
Today I attended the an event on Intellectual Property and the US Economy which was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds. The purpose of the event was to unveil a study — Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus— prepared by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The study found that intellectual property intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs in the United States and contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). That is to say that 27.7% of all jobs in the U.S. were either directly or indirectly attributable to IP-intensive industries, and the amount contributed to the U.S. economy represents a staggering 34.8% of GDP.
“This first of its kind report shows that IP- intensive industries have a direct and significant impact on our nation’s economy and the creation of American jobs,” said Commerce Secretary John Bryson. “When Americans know that their ideas will be protected, they have greater incentive to pursue advances and technologies that help keep us competitive, and our businesses have the confidence they need to hire more workers. That is why this Administration’s efforts to protect intellectual property, and modernize the patent and trademark system are so crucial to a 21st century economy that is built to last.”
If you ask the owners of most companies whether they have any intellectual property assets, assuming they know what you are talking about, they are likely to say no. The problem is that the answer should universally be a resounding YES! Every company has intellectual property assets. The name of your company is an asset that can be protected through state and federal trademark registration, and can generate good will, which is potentially the largest asset of any kind that many businesses will have. Explained in this way many will at least acknowledge that intellectual property assets exist, but the one type of intellectual property that most businesses completely ignore is the trade secret.
It is hard to imagine that any business could ever operate without having protectable trade secrets. The trouble is that most do not know what can be protected as a trade secret, nor do they know how to protect trade secrets.
A trade secret is defined as any business information that is valuable and that derives its value from remaining a secret. So what information could be protected via trade secret? Any information that you would not want a competitor to get their hands on could be a trade secret.
FOX News recently broke a news story relating to a rogue branch of the United Nations undertaking some kind of clandestine scheme that would ultimately wind up shipping computers and other technologies to the government of North Korea in violation of several UN Resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874. As I sat there last night listening to the news I was shocked to hear Greta Van Susteren begin talking to John Bolten, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, about an allegedly little known UN agency called the World Intellectual Property Organization. What?
The first thing that ran through my mind was how could they characterize WIPO being “obscure” and “little known”? Of course, in the rest of the world no matter how large or important any agency or corporation that deals with intellectual property is rather obscure, which is a sad commentary in and of itself. Then my thoughts immediately turned to disbelief. How is this possible? What were they thinking? The WIPO leaders I have met and communicated with seemed rather conservative and safe business people. There has to be more to the story than they are helping out a radical and repressive regime obtain weapons of mass destruction.
Steve Jobs exhibit at the USPTO, which opened 11/16/2011.
An exhibition showing the intellectual property behind Steve Jobs’ innovations opens to the public at WIPO today and will run through to World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, 2012. The exhibition ties in with this year’s World Intellectual Property Daytheme – Visionary Innovators.
“A visionary innovator is measured by the extent of transformation that their innovation achieves in society and the economy,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “Steve Jobs certainly had vision – his ambition to make digital technology simple and accessible gave rise to a new paradigm for the delivery of entertainment.”
In my last article, I posed the question whether the “Smart Phone Patent Wars” were giving IP rights – and more specifically, patents – a bad rap? My conclusion was an unfortunate “yes,” with the villains being a handful of companies that willingly contributed patented technologies to various standard setting organizations (SSOs), encouraged their use in a host of consumer electronics, and years later charge the very producers they encouraged to implement these standards with patent infringement. Now in this article – the second in a six-part series – I examine the so-called “Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing terms that SSOs require of their participants.
First, before discussing the meaning of FRAND licensing terms, we must understand the nature and importance of SSOs. These national or international organizations are typically private, non-profit organizations whose members include for-profit company participants seeking to establish one or more technical standards that will be incorporated into a product or technical system. Some of the more widely recognized SSOs include the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). The technical standards adopted by these SSOs are voluntary (unless they are enacted into law by, for example, a state legislature), but influential. Why, however, have technical standards? Well, would you buy a smart phone if it could not connect to a mobile network so that you can communicate (by voice or text) to your peers, visit all your favorite websites on the Internet or download pictures, videos and the like? That is, standardization delivers consumer benefits, especially in product markets where the very value of the product is the fact that a great number of other consumers use the same or a compatible product.
Raymond P. Niro is patent litigator with tremendous experience and a reputation that is larger than life. To some he is a champion of independent inventors and small business community, frequent clients of his. To others he is nearly the definition of evil.
It is certainly true that Niro is responsible for the coining of the term “patent troll,” a term first used by a journalist writing about a case he filed on behalf of a client against Intel in 2001. But how is it possible to characterize as a bad actor when those he represents are so often victorious? If you ask me the bad actors are the ones who infringe on patent rights, not those who stand up to have their rights vindicated. But I digress.
Niro has been trial counsel in literally hundreds of intellectual property cases, and since 1996, has won verdicts and settlements for his clients totaling more than $1 billion. In 2006, for example, Niro tried 6% of all the patent cases that went to verdict and, in the first six months of 2007, recovered the 11th, 15th and 35th highest patent verdicts (highest as of 2007), each resulting in a finding of willful infringement, an injunction and cumulative damages of more than $100 million.