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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yahoo! may not be responsible for the large amounts of intellectual property development seen with other companies featured in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, but we do always find many intriguing innovations when we look at the corporation’s recently filed patent applications. We were greatly interested in a trio of patent applications which are evidence of Yahoo!’s desire to build a social platform for achieving personal goals, including one application discussing the use of social and economic motivators to achieve goals. Other innovations included online advertisement improvements, including a method for presenting virtual billboards through a digital lens device, and methods for discovering relevant online content.
The patent portfolio of Yahoo! has increased in recent weeks, and we’ve selected a few of these inventions that our readers may enjoy learning more about. One patent protects methods of interacting with search engine results through keyboard inputs, improving on current methods which typically only involve mouse-based inputs. We found more patents regarding online advertising, proving that Yahoo! has a definite focus on helping advertisers sell products and services to users of the company’s Internet technologies. We also discuss a type of social network designed by Yahoo! for use specifically with mobile devices.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Charles Macedo will be a panelist at the upcoming 2014 IP Dealmakers Forum, which will take place in New York City from November 6 – 7, 2014. The program will bring together thought leaders who specialize in all aspects of IP procurement, asset valuation and monetization of patents. If you are interested in attending you can CLICK HERE to REGISTER.
Over the past year, patents and other intellectual property have received more and more attention. The Supreme Court last term issued six patent decisions, plus two copyright decisions and a Lanham Act decision. This increased interest is part and parcel with the importance that intellectual property plays in our nation’s economy. However, with all these new decisions, suggested and implemented legislative changes, and shifting public opinion, it is getting harder and harder to effectively source intellectual property acquisitions and investments, especially patents, as well as to conduct appropriate and effective due diligence in the process.
In this article, I summarize some of the key points I suggest a potential acquirer consider when researching the investment in or acquisition of patents for monetization.
But for us it is time for another check-in with Google’s recent innovations here on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, and software inventions from this major technology developer are abounding. We found a couple of patent applications involving technologies which present topics of interest to computing device users, including methods for activity planning to see a concert or an event. Another patent application describes a method of providing insight from local experts about an unknown destination. We were also intrigued by a method of presenting digital advertisements to individuals which is designed to encourage retail sales at brick and mortar stores.