One year ago, the USPTO Museum packed away 30 man-sized, glowing iPhones. It was the last day of an exhibit commemorating the life and inventions of Steve Jobs, and the oversized mock-smartphones were displaying trademarks and patents in his name. But is it as easy to view those patents on your ordinary, pocket-sized iPhone? Or file a patent application from an iPad?
The USPTO is one of many federal agencies struggling to comply with the mandates of the White House Digital Government Strategy for 2013 – namely, that digital information and services must be available “anywhere, anytime, on any device”. Meeting the government standard will entail not just polishing USPTO.gov for use on smartphones and tablets, but also a substantial overhaul of the way the agency exposes data to patent practitioners and the public.
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.”
The response by Hewlett Packard’s associate general counsel Paul Roeder to my essay supporting the International Trade Commission’s exclusion of imports that infringe U.S. patents brings to mind the classic George Orwell novella Animal Farm. In that allegorical tale, Orwell depicts how power quietly corrupts the leaders of a revolution, turning them into a self-satisfied hegemony that creates new rules and privileges for itself at the expense of everyone else.
But before I explain the relevance of Animal Farm to Mr. Roeder’s response, let me first reiterate what’s at stake in the efforts by HP and the other members of the self-described “ITC Working Group” to limit the enforcement powers of the International Trade Commission (ITC).
The ITC has the power under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 to prevent products that infringe U.S. intellectual property rights from being imported into the United States. Given that some foreign countries have economic ecosystems in which labor is cheap and IP protection is almost non-existent — a situation that many U.S. companies now benefit from, thanks to offshoring — the Section 337 process exists to fight unfair competition from such importers by excluding their goods from the U.S. if these products infringe American patents.
Washington – In celebration of its mission to recognize and foster invention, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced its 2012 Inductees. The inventors to be honored this year created remarkable innovations that include the now ubiquitous laser printer commonly found in the workplace, the thin-film head technology that has contributed to the success of the disk drive industry, and the first statin which pioneered the class of drugs targeted at lowering cholesterol.
This year’s Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will take place on May 2 at the historic Patent Office Building, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C. At that time, the 2012 Inductees will be recognized for work such as the carbon dioxide laser which is widely used across diverse fields, the design of computer programming languages, and solar thermal storage innovations.
Steve Jobs, the visionary founder and leader of Apple Computer Corporation, died Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at the age of 56 after an 8-year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Jobs, who is sometimes referred to as the father of personal computing, was the mastermind behind Apple’s Computers, iPods, iPhones, iMacs and iPad’s and is seen by many as a man who pioneered the personal computing industry and literally changed the way we live our lives every day. In celebration of his life and his accomplishments over the years, the following is a timeline of Jobs’ history, and the history of Apple, beginning in 1972 when he graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, CA, and focusing on the major events in a memorable life.
Having a small business means having many challenges, especially in the earliest phases of development. Faced with challenges such as letting people know about your new business, establishing and augmenting your brand, creating a website, designing logos, developing and implementing marketing initiatives, creating and printing real world marketing materials, procuring new clients and customers, building and maintaining a blog, initiating and executing a social media campaign, acquiring followers within your social media platforms, securing office space at a reasonable cost, book keeping and everything else that must be done during the start-up process. This seemingly endless list of tasks seems to imply that starting a new business will most certainly be a stressful and very expensive endeavor. But starting and growing a small business, does not have to cost you an arm and a leg nor does having a small business mean that your business has to look “Small.”
What appears below is the speech Henry Nothhaft (Tessera President & CEO) gave at the Innovation Alliance conference on January 21, 2010, which is published with his permission. Readers may also find interesting Nothhaft’s recent article Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places: Memo to the President, relating to President Obama’s State of the Union Address and published by Harvard Business Review.
Hank Nothhaft addresses the Innovation Alliance Conference, 1-21-2011.
All told, I’ve helped create more than 6000 jobs and return 8 billion dollars to investors. And this work experience has given me first hand insight into a subject that economists are only now beginning to study closely. Namely the surprisingly powerful role that start ups play in job creation and economic growth. Of course, economists have been studying the sources of economic growth for a long time. 50 years ago, Robert Solo discovered to every one’s great shock that virtually all economic growth, or at least 80% of it comes from technological innovation. Not capital inputs or productivity increases or anything else, just technological innovation, the kind of break-through innovation that crates whole new industries and millions of jobs. Like the development of semiconductors, personal computers, software, and the Internet.
On March 2, 2010, Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) filed two lawsuits against High Tech Computer Corp.(PINK: HTCCF) (aka HTC Corp.), HTC (B.V.I.) Corp, HTC America, Inc. and Exeda, Inc. HTC Corp. is a Taiwanese corporation and the parent company of the other defendants. According to a statement from Apple, HTC is infringing “20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.” According to Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, “[w]e can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.” The Apple press release and complaints make it clear that this dispute if about the “revolutionary iPhone®.” Some have started speculating that because of this Jobs comment the matter is personal and perhaps Apple is whining in an unjustified fashion. Let’s not kid ourselves though. The big target here is Google NASDAQ: GOOG) and a patent battle of epic proportions may well be unfolding. Given that Apple has sold over 40 million iPhones worldwide, if they do believe there is infringement they can hardly let Google muscle in on this lucrative technology turf.
Those who are readers of IPWatchdog.com on a regular basis are familiar with the jousting that goes on in the comments between myself and a core group of patent believers and those who are, shall we say skeptical of the value of patents and would prefer that patents simply not exist, or at least not exist in certain areas, such as software. Without getting into that debate directly here and now allow me to observe that if you are an independent inventor, start-up or small business one successful way to responsibly move forward is to pattern yourself on successful companies. There is no mileage in following the lead of a company in decline, so lessons can be learned by observing successful companies and weaving together a strategy that will lead to market success. Perhaps no other company today so aggressively pursues patents on core technologies and products than Apple, and they enjoy enormous success. So why not take a page from the Apple playbook? Innovate, patent, commercialize and dominate.
Steve Jobs, with hair. His official photo from his Apple Bio page.
Earlier today a pending non-provisional utility patent application assigned to Apple Computer published. This application, US Patent Application 20090265214, is titled Advertisement in Operating System, and covers exactly what the title implies; namely an operating system that is capable of displaying a variety of advertisements to users. You are likely to have heard of the first listed inventor, Steven Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. While it is difficult to know the purpose and strategy behind a patent application, the attorneys at Fish & Richardson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who drafted and filed the patent application certainly did a very good job describing just about every conceivable feature and alternative that could coincide with the displaying of advertisements to users of an operating system. It almost sounds funny to call the displaying of advertisements within an operating system “a feature,” particularly given the annoying, ubiquitous and ever more intrusive nature of advertising these days. In any event, the patent application is well written, albeit it written in pre-Bilski style at least with respect to the claims. If Apple does want to pursue this all the way to a patent I suspect there will be plenty of opportunity to do so, and there will certainly be allowable claims that fall within this disclosure.