The Common Thread of Innovation Ecosystems: Securing Ownership to Guarantee Creation

By Gene Quinn
May 2, 2021

“If we want to maximize creation, we need strong, investible intellectual property that captures the imagination (and financing) of investors.”

Innovation EcosystemOver the past several weeks, it has been our pleasure at IPWatchdog to be a media sponsor for the excellent programming on intellectual property and the innovation ecosystem produced by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The last in the series, an overview of the common thread running through innovation ecosystems, took place on Wednesday, April 28.

“One thing we all have in common is that everyone wants more innovation and creativity to meet societal challenges, never more so than in a pandemic,” Patrick Kilbride, Senior Vice President for Global Innovation Policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce, told IPWatchdog following the conclusion of the Innovation Ecosystem series. “Sustaining the global middle class through COVID will require a steep trajectory of innovation. Our experience working with businesses of every size and sector, and governments around the world, shows intellectual property rights as a central enabler of innovation.”

If I had to summarize the sessions in one succinct, pithy sentence it would sound like this: intellectual property is essential in order to secure ownership, which creates an investible asset that attracts capital necessary to guarantee creation.

Therefore, if we want to maximize creation, we need strong, investible intellectual property that captures the imagination (and financing) of investors.

On this point, Kilpatrick explained to IPWatchdog:

IP plays two foundational roles that sustain ecosystems for innovation and creativity: first, in a competitive market where money is fungible it enables the allocation of resources to long-term, high-risk, capital-intensive activities. Second, it creates a legal and commercial basis for the IP licensing partnerships that sustain the multi-stakeholder innovation lifecycle as ideas and knowledge pass hands from early-stage research through to product development and testing to manufacturing and distribution.

Creators

“We all have our own worlds, but [those worlds] depend on each other,” said Mitch Glazier, Chairman & CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, during the program on April 28, as he was discussing the distinct yet interconnected creative industries that depend upon intellectual property protection. “In the music world, just like in the movie world, it isn’t just about the actor or the artist. It starts with a lot of investment.”

And that is the very point of the innovation ecosystem. Intellectual property works to provide the underlying rights that secure ownership, which allows for investment. You cannot invest in what you cannot own, and without money the “magic” as Glazier repeatedly referred to it, cannot happen, which is so important because “it contributes to our culture,” Glazier said.

“The film, television and streaming industry support over 2 million jobs all over the United States,” said Karyn A. Temple, Senior Executive Vice President & Global General Counsel of the Motion Picture Association. So, these IP supported businesses and industries are not simply centralized in Hollywood, or even California, as Temple explained. “The IP system is foundational to every aspect of our industry… and copyright allows for creators to see the return on their investment.”

The Bell Labs of Wireless

“The importance of economic growth in the digital economy is a critical question today,” began Kirti Gupta, Vice President, Economic Strategy and Chief Economist for Qualcomm. “Governments around the world are asking the question today; it is at the top of the agenda.”

Explaining that the role of innovation is well understood, Gupta went on to further explain that “the role of intellectual property is less understood, and in the worst-case scenario it is ignored.”

“Only large firms will have the ability to innovate and protect their ideas and that doesn’t help anybody,” said Gupta. She went on to characterize Qualcomm as the Bell Labs of the wireless world, having contributed to the telecommunications standards over so many years, spending time working with Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) on 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G and beyond.

Gupta punctuated her presentation by saying that IP is such an important economic driver because it gives innovative companies confidence that what they fund today, they will be able to own in the future, which is absolutely critical given the often-massive financial investments required to realize the imagination of engineers and scientists.

Counterfeits

“Counterfeits are a serious risk to our business,” said Anna Dalla Val, Director of Global Brand Relations for Amazon. “If customers cannot trust our products, they will buy elsewhere,” Val told the audience. “If sellers cannot trust the platform, they will sell elsewhere.”

According to Val, Amazon removed over 6 billion bad listings in 2019 alone, with over 99.9% of product pages never receiving a notice of potential counterfeit infringement. Moreover, 2.5 million bad actor accounts were stopped before they published a single listing in 2019. But the fight goes on. And in June 2020 Amazon created a Counterfeit Crimes Unit dedicated to investigating illicit counterfeiting activity and to work with law enforcement agencies and brands to pursue bad actors.

Val said Amazon issues quarterly reports of confirmed counterfeiters to law enforcement and maintains solid relationships with UK and U.S. law enforcement IP teams, EUROPOL and INTERPOL. Still, Amazon realizes counterfeiting is a challenge that is here to stay, but she pledged Amazon’s support to work with anyone who is interested in eradicating counterfeits.

An Emerging Global Middle Class

At a time when a growing global middle class is attempting to emerge from economic shutdowns and search for economic opportunity, people from these emerging markets want a better life: “[They want] social and economic mobility, along with secure access to quality food, clean water, education, transportation, and technology—things that have long been associated with high-income economies,” Kilbride said.

“Where rights are well defined, transparently granted, and predictably and reliably enforced, the two functions of IP create an environment where people can develop their innate capacity for innovation and creativity to its fullest, technological advances follow and technology transfer happens organically,” Kilbride explained.  “An ecosystem for good things is born.”

And that is why IP matters.

 

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 6 Comments comments.

  1. concerned May 2, 2021 10:13 pm

    Do the USPTO and PTAB understand the concept of this article?

  2. concerned May 3, 2021 7:34 am

    BTW: This morning I just happened to receive my “denied” request for reconsideration from the PTAB of their rejection on new grounds.

    PTAB agreed my process solved a problem in the colloquial sense, but not in the legal sense. That statement is too sad to be funny and illustrates how the patent system ended up in a mess. New and useful does not mean new and useful, solving a problem does not mean solving a problem, etc. Black letter law apparently does not mean what it says.

    I guess that the SCOTUS cases we quoted that said “an abstract process can be patented if a new and useful benefit resulted” was just too “colloquial” for our comprehension.

    PTAB also gave me the “limiting an abstract idea using a computer to a particular environment does not save the claim” drill. Really? Obviously this Alice statement is for known solutions that are slapped on a generic computer and claimed as a new solution only because a computer is now being used. There are plenty of patented inventions that were confined to a particular environment (tractors, cotton gin, telephone, etc.) and the patent was granted because a new benefit occurred.

    Now the PTAB has agreed (and so did both examiners) that I solved a problem, a victory that I claim. The solution was not the computer, a computer just happened to be used because that is where the problem exists (in computerland).

    Again I ask the question referred to in post #1: Do the USPTO and PTAB understand the concept of this article?

    On to CAFC where I understand the PTAB decision will be rubberstamped. Now is that a rubber stamp in a “colloquial” sense or in a legal “Rule 36” way? And if the denial is in a “Rule 36” way, will I get a secret legal dictionary that explains what the common words really mean?

    I pity professionals that have to deal with the above non-sense on a daily basis.

  3. Jacek May 3, 2021 11:50 am

    In this battle between common sense and corruption (& frank betrayal of national interest), inventors have to change the language. Instead of talking about “Invention,” “patents,” etc., we should start using simplified language more straightforward for the average citizen to understand and relate to. In most people’s view, the terminology associated with IP is fancy, and the problems are problems of an elite. If we are instead talking, for example, about the Supreme Court gutting private property rights (eBay), the inventor’s plight is easier to understand and relate to. IP ownership rights or ownership of old beat-up pick-up trucks should have no distinction in the public minds if we want more public support. Patent “development” word I would store in the closet using the word “WORK” or “labor” instead.
    If, as an inventor, I have no rights to my invention being according to the “Supreme” just License from a government, who am I? Chattel of the government?

    If I have no rights to fruits of my LABOR guaranteed by the constitution, shouldn’t I also have the voting rights taken?
    I do not labor on my invention to be taken for free by Google, Amazon, or the likes.
    The fruit of my LABOR is mine, not Communal property. Are we in the “Soviet Union of the United States? or the US?

    The words used by PTAB show a lack of real arguments on their side and the fact that this war on Inventors has to become more intense if we want to preserve the US as a nation of Inventors.
    The weapons in use are words and simpler to relate to can be more effective in the public stages of the battle.

    The fact that the EU is budgeting four times as much as the US on the IP development and China’s drive (for example- their intellectual Property offices enforcing IP rights at no charge)toward more IP shows no doubt the future.

  4. concerned May 3, 2021 1:38 pm

    Jacek:

    I am hoping that Mr. Quinn jumps on this situation with one of his articulate articles about how perverse these word games are becoming to include your viewpoints as well. That an inventor can literally meet the definition of the law, the USPTO and PTAB can both agree an invention was discovered, yet no patent due to some word game. These word games are based on a derivative decision of the law (Alice) and then more derivative decisions of Alice to the point where black letter law and common sense are rendered irrelevant.

    Ironically, SCOTUS decisions support my application but the USPTO and their PTAB will not acknowledge these court cases in their response. Instead I get word games that words do not mean their assigned dictionary definitions.

    For example as to my SCOTUS cases offered in support of the application:

    Per Justice Bradley in Webster Loom Co. v. Higgins,
    105 U.S. 580, 591 (1881): “It may be laid down as a general rule, though perhaps not an invariable one, that
    if a new combination and arrangement of known elements produce a new and beneficial result, never attained
    before, it is evidence of invention.”

    And:

    The Supreme Court of the United States cautions to tread carefully in construing this exclusionary principle lest it swallow all of patent law. Mayo v. Prometheus, 566 U. S. 66 (2012). At some level, “all inventions . . . embody, use, reflect, rest upon,
    or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas.” Id. Thus, an invention is not rendered ineligible for patent simply because it involves an abstract concept. See Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U. S. 175, 187 (1981). “[A]pplication[s]” of such concepts “‘to a new and useful end,’” we have said, remain eligible
    for patent protection. Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U. S. 63, 67 (1972).

    Nowhere, in any case law, do the courts say new and useful inventions are not patentable when the invention is definitely new and useful. The preceding would be bad public policy if the courts said we do not care what problem was solved, you are not getting a patent. Of course, the PTAB did not address this argument. But I am going to make the court write the same by pinning them down unless they are gutless and give me a Rule 36. I got them to admit I solved a problem that millions of professionals could not (that should be an automatic here is your patent.)

    In addition, my practical application that solved the problem is not used in “ANY” field, and that statement is not in dispute. Again not addressed by the PTAB or USPTO. Berkheimer court decision that facts matter is a joke in reality.

    Sad state of affairs.

  5. Pro Say May 3, 2021 9:38 pm

    Concerned: I am so very sorry (though not surprised) for what the Patent Office including the PTAB have done to — and taken from — you.

    I know only too well your pain, because it happened to me, too.

    I reviewed your case, and you and your attorney earned the right, and deserved to be, treated fairly.

    You were not. The Death Squad is alive and well.

    Jacek — good points.

    When I’m talking to folks about patents who feel that patents are (or sound) bad (more younger folk than older feel so), I ask them this question:

    “How would you feel if you wrote a song or a book and someone stole it from you, said they wrote it, and made a million dollars off of it; with you getting nothing?”

    THEN they appreciate patents.

    THEN.

  6. concerned May 4, 2021 8:08 am

    Pro Say:

    Thank you once again for your ongoing support!

    I will ask my attorney to write a one sentence appeal to the CAFC as follows:

    The PTAB and both USPTO examiners stated my application met the requirements of Section 101 as written by Congress, not judges.. (end of appeal)

    Do you think CAFC will understand or care about the power of the above statement? And that both the colloquial and legal definition of Section 101 is Section 101, not two different versions. I do not think there is enough intregity in the patent system for anyone to be offended by my one sentence appeal.

    Of course, the PTAB’s version of legal definition of Section 101 is court cases of their choice, not SCOTUS cases on point about new and useful. My selected court cases and the spirit/nature of patents do not support their reject at all cost stance.