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Posts in Interviews & Conversations

The Patent Gender Gap Goes Beyond Fewer Women in Math and Sciences

“[W]e are finding that when the schools that are starting to measure their invention disclosure and their patent filings, again with at least one woman represented, even when they control for the percentage of female faculty members within a given department, for instance, they’re still finding that yes, there are fewer women represented but those fewer women that are represented are not filing as many invention disclosures as their male counterparts. So while we do need to concentrate on changing the culture and on making sure that girls and women are encouraged within these fields, we also have to, I think, for the sake of our economy, concentrate on women who are in these fields and are working and make sure that they also know about the patent process and find that accessible to them.”

Getting a patent is not the end goal for a startup, it’s just the beginning

RUSS KRAJEC: Getting a patent is not the end goal. Using an issued patent is not the end goal. It’s the beginning for the startup. Think about how you are going to use this asset in your business, and then craft that asset to match that business goal. When you do that, you make much better use of your time and energy. So many people who are looking for a paper trophy or a plaque on the wall, and they don’t understand what they’re going do when this asset shows up, and if that’s the case, why bother doing it?

Patent Financing: An alternative path to protection for startups

RUSS KRAJEC: The startup company has an exclusive license, so they have full control of the asset, and they have a buyout option that can be exercised at any time. And the buyout cost is reasonable, is predictable, and it’s known ahead of time. So from them, it is purely a matter of financing while the startup company has excruciatingly high cost of capital. Angel or venture money averages 30, 40, 50 percent per year. Our financing is much lower than that, it’s a better use of capital. If at some point in the future, the company may be able to get a bank loan where the cost of capital is much cheaper, and it makes sense to exercise the buyout option. The patent financing is purely an analysis of Net Present Value in these scenarios.

Achieving a balanced IP system to ensure content creators can keep creating in the digital age

I think the long-term benefits to authors are greater than the downsides or the risks. But, like any time there’s a shakeup of an industry, there are short-term and long-term winners and losers. I’ll even use the term “digital disruption,” although it is way overused these days (and too often used as a poor excuse for infringing copyright). Digital technology is disrupting the industry as a whole. We had the same business models for the better part of at least a century, and while things are starting to change, we’re still largely operating as we did in the past, based on old business models with just a few tweaks. We haven’t fully evolved yet, and as a result we’re mostly seeing a little bit of the downside. Whenever there’s a disruption in business models, someone is negatively affected. Unfortunately, here it is the authors, and creators generally. And that’s because creators in these industries tend to have the least bargaining power and they tend to be a line item in a budget where there is some discretion.

Tech Transfer 101: It’s A Better World with University Technology

AUTM collects quantitative data and facts about the benefits of university tech transfer, but the qualitative evidence is actually the most important. With the Better World Report, which just hit 500 stories, AUTM provides evidence that university tech transfer makes a better world. Just look at those stories in the Better World Report; they’re heartwarming. It is amazing that some of the critics tend to overlook or completely discount the very real stories of success. I don’t know what the critics are after— I guess the success of university tech transfer doesn’t fit the narrative that they wish to impose on everybody.

Exit Interview: A Conversation with Outgoing AUTM President Fred Reinhart

During Reinhart’s year as President much changed at AUTM. There was a concerted effort to transition to a a strategic board of directors that would result in more dynamic member engagement, AUTM hired a full-time Executive Director, the organization spent a great deal of time developing more effective relationships with industry, AUTM bolstered it’s relationships with key university organizations, and AUTM began more earnestly working on international initiatives. While more progress was made in some areas than in others, progress has been achieved across the board. All-in-all, Reinhart’s tenure at the helm of AUTM was quite successful and he has helped set the organization up for the challenges that lie ahead.

Talking Trademarks: An Exclusive Interview with INTA’s Debbie Cohn

What follows is our wide ranging discussion, which start out with what Cohn is doing with INTA and then moves into an in depth discussion of issues surrounding counterfeiting, the newly formed Trademark Caucus in Congress, and the recent Federal Circuit decision on disparaging trademark registrations in the so-called Slants case. We ended with the familiar fun questions that give us an opportunity to get to know Cohn.

Getting to Know Tech Geek and Tchaikovsky Fan, Michelle Lee

That leaves the fun questions, which really give us an opportunity to get to know Director Lee, the type of music she listens to, the movies she watches, what she reads and what she enjoys doing in her spare time. We pick up our conversation talking about her recent trip to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and what captured the imagination of her inner tech geek.

An Exclusive Interview with USPTO Director Michelle Lee

There were no topics ruled out of bounds for this 30 minute interview, not even the Supreme Court’s recent decision to accept cert. in Cuozzo, although as an attorney myself I know better than to ask questions that would have certainly provoked a polite “no comment” response in the face of ongoing litigation. Nevertheless, our conversation was wide ranging. We discussed the release of the Copyright White paper, which among other things recommends expanding eligibility for statutory damages in copyright infringement actions. We also discussed Lee’s recent visit to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the power outage that brought down USPTO electronic filing systems, the Office’s patent quality initiative, the new patent classification system, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and more.

What Mattered in 2015: Insiders Reflect on Biggest Moments in IP

This year our panel of industry insiders is quite diverse, with commentary from Bob Stoll (Drinker Biddle), Ashley Keller (Gerchen Keller), Paul Morinville (US Inventor), Alden Abbot (Heritage Foundation), Marla Grossman (American Continental Group) and Steve Kunin (Oblon). Unlike last year where there was near unanimous agreement that the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank was the biggest moment of the year, this year our panel of industry experts focused on a variety of different matters. There was one recurring theme, however. The inability of patent reform to advance on Capitol Hill was undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of the year.

On the record with product development and marketing expert Warren Tuttle

Warren Tuttle: ”Good innovation is innovation that consumers respond to and purchase and appreciate, say good things about it and it survives. Bad innovation, you know the 95% of the crap that’s out there is stuff that people just throw up and tried to be creative and it doesn’t have any resonance. At the end of the day the consumer drives things and there’s a whole bunch of ways to approach that consumer but typically it takes a combination of an idea that’s protected, because in the beginning you need to get off the ground and there needs to be financial incentive for someone, and it also needs the entrepreneurship necessary to build the business.”

Music lover, history buff, Mr. Fix-it – Getting to Know Bruce Kisliuk

QUINN: ”I always refer to myself as a geek or a nerd. Do you wear that too as a badge of honor?” KISLIUK: ”Oh, absolutely. When my neighbors needed something fixed — it’s a little geeky but — I would grab my bucket of tools and walk up the street. I was proud they would ask me — even more so if I could actually fix it! So I think only a geek would be proud to spend their Saturday helping their neighbor fix something.”

The patent system will survive, but not thrive over the short term

Bruce Kisliuk: ”Those with more resources have some advantages in any litigation. That’s one reason a patent right is important, it can level that playing field a bit. Which is why I think the system will survive, maybe not thrive as some may wish but will survive, because you will still be able to protect. Technological progress marches forward and people aren’t going to sit and wait. So if you need patent protection you’re going to get what you can and you’re going to make sure you have a solid disclosure and work through the system as it stands when you’re working through it. To the extent you can try to put yourself in a position to be able to move left or right should the sea change. That’s the best, I think, anyone can do.”

Patents, a system that works – On the record with Bruce Kisliuk

Bruce Kisliuk: “I think over time that pendulum will swing back. I think the nature of the business is that it’s likely going to come by successive case law decisions, I think we’re going slowly see things come back. I think clarity on where the line is on eligibility will get firmer, and I think there will be a stronger appreciation of patent value. It might take some time, maybe by an example — and I hate to think this –because I don’t necessarily want something like this to happen, but government often reacts to disasters. They don’t necessarily see the subtleties. They wait until there’s a disaster and then they react to the disaster and I’d rather not see a true crisis, I’d rather see some course-correction.”

The Changing Landscape of IP Investments – A Conversation with Abha Divine

Abha Divine is the founder and managing director of Techquity Capital Management, which is an IP investment firm that partners with IP owners to help them deploy their assets into untapped markets to broaden their reach and increase liquidity.We discussed the changing IP investment landscape and deals used to focus nearly exclusively on the number of patents transacted. Of course, that changed in the wake of recent substantive patent law changes. The focus of deals, at least those that were being done over the past few years, was quality. But now we are starting to see the marketplace value quantity again, but not at the expense of quality.