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Posts Tagged: "LinkedIn"

Using LinkedIn for IP Business Development: Winning (and Losing) Strategies

As of December 2020, LinkedIn, Microsoft’s social networking service for professionals, has over 722 million total members in 200 countries and regions worldwide. Its growth seems unstoppable: the service continues to attract legions of newcomers to the workforce and more seasoned late adopters. Meanwhile, existing members are expanding their engagement, leveraging LinkedIn in new ways they hope will prove fruitful. Intellectual property professionals—defined broadly here as persons or entities whose professional work involves or relates to IP or IP practitioners—abound as members on LinkedIn. Law firm, corporate, and government attorneys and their colleagues. IP and legal service providers of all kinds, from litigation and prosecution support to software and IP monetization. Judges and law school professors. Legal associations, recruiters, and producers of IP conferences. The list goes on. Not surprisingly, corporate IP attorneys like myself are constantly typecast as LinkedIn buyers, viewed as a source of coveted business in a highly competitive field. For me, LinkedIn has become the single most active forum where sellers attempt to pitch me services. This has been both a blessing and a curse, an opportunity to be impressed—or not.

USPTO Steps Into Social Media Controversy

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) doesn’t often get much action on social media, but last week, five days before the U.S. Presidential election, the Office came under fire for its social media posts touting the United States’ record on intellectual property under the Trump Administration. The posts featured the following quote from USPTO Director Andrei Iancu: “Just a reminder, under President Trump’s leadership, the U.S. intellectual property ecosystem ranks #1 in the world, according to the 2020 International IP Index.”

Does ‘Scraping’ Data Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

We live in a world where data has become an increasingly valuable asset and huge companies are built on the collection and analysis of publicly available data. Yet, there is no federal statute that directly protects this type of information or even directly addresses how this information should be treated. Instead, businesses are often forced to rely on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in order to protect this valuable asset or commodity, which originally only provided criminal sanctions and was enacted to address computer hacking. Most recently, the Ninth Circuit in hiQ Labs, Inc. v. Linkedin Corp., 938 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2019), addressed under what circumstances a company may legally “scrape” data from another company’s website. There, the court determined on hiQ’s motion for preliminary injunction that “scraping” publicly available information from LinkedIn likely is not a violation of the CFAA because the LinkedIn computers are publicly accessible and hiQ thus did not access the computers “without authorization” as required by the CFAA. Under these circumstances, the court determined that it did not matter that LinkedIn had sent a cease and desist letter to hiQ prohibiting such access. This is a potentially very important decision for companies on both sides of this issue and for the general public, at least in the Ninth Circuit.

Secrets of Social Media: Who owns social media accounts?

Andy Bitter, a former sports journalist covering the travails and triumphs of the Virginia Tech football team, was sued last month by his former employer, a local newspaper, for trade secret theft. According to the plaintiff Roanoke Times he was obligated by the company’s employee handbook to turn over all company property, and this necessarily included the Twitter account he had used to stay in touch with his 17,000+ followers… In spite of the mess it created, the Roanoke Times has reminded us of some important questions for industry in the information age. Who owns social media accounts? What role do they play in building competitive advantage? And how should companies manage their use?

Apple’s Consumer Data Collection Patents Prove that Data Privacy Risks Are Not Just a Facebook Problem

Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has added to the growing choir of critical voices, announcing in early April that he had deleted his Facebook profile over concerns about the company’s data collection practices. But Apple’s hands aren’t entirely clean when it comes to personal data privacy for its consumers. As a recent article published by The Canberra Times in Australia notes, Apple apps pre-installed on the iPhone were able collect personal information, including the name and location of childcare services, despite the fact that the writer attempted to delete those apps and did not give those apps additional data permissions. We recently took a look at Big Brother-style data collection technologies that have been patented by Facebook. Looking at Apple’s filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it seems clear that, while Cook and Wozniak may be saying the right things in public, Apple itself might be just as culpable of over-collecting user data behind the scenes.

Facebook’s Efficient Infringement of Social Media Platforms Continues to Impact Snap Shareholders

Snap has attempted to remain competitive with new features, such as increasing the allotted time for video capture and introducing new drawing tools this May. But it hasn’t been able to gain a foothold against Facebook, a company which reportedly offered to buy Snap for $3 billion prior to Snap’s IPO… “If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, the value of our brand and other intangible assets may be diminished, and our business may be seriously harmed,” one of the section titles in Snap’s S-1 filing reads. Of course, in the current IP landscape, there is no real ability to protect that property, especially where it pertains to patents. And Facebook’s copying of features which are valuable on the Snapchat platform has been blatant.

Ensuring a robust defensive portfolio: A Prepared Counter-Assertion Strategy

The required number of patents in a given playbook varies based on both the size of company of concern and our exposure to it. The general goal of a playbook is to shift the licensing amount purportedly owed by LinkedIn by $20 million to $200 million in our favor. In order to achieve this, we have found that a good playbook should contain between three and 10 patent families, with evidence of use for key patents. The goal of each playbook is to show infringement by the asserter’s products and services exceeding $1 billion revenue. We set specific goals for each one and tested its contents against them.

Assertion Risk Mitigation Opportunity Through Patent Acquisition

In this post, we’ll analyze LinkedIn’s patent acquisition process and the results of its targeted buying program. While the increase in LinkedIn’s filings helped to grow the total patent portfolio, challenges remain. First, while organic filings tend to focus on LinkedIn’s core technology and therefore help a great deal with counter-assertion against potential competitors, they are less helpful when it comes to large corporate asserters further outside LinkedIn’s core technology area. Second, the priority dates on all the new filings are recent (after 2011). Earlier priority dates (old inventions) help the most in counter-assertion, but LinkedIn would have had to file for those patents in the 2000s. Fortunately, the market for buying and selling patents is robust and allows companies to fill in where they have weakness in their portfolios. Focused patent buying allowed us to build a counter-assertion portfolio to help bolster any negotiations.

LinkedIn’s Patent Strategy

LinkedIn was a rapidly growing company with only 22 patents in its portfolio in 2012, putting itself at high risk for patent assertion. With a revenue reaching nearly $1 billion and a growth of 86%, LinkedIn knew it had to develop a patent strategy to reduce its risk profile. So what was LinkedIn’s patent strategy and how did it increase its patent filings? Let’s start at the beginning… The opportunities for risk mitigation can be divided into two categories: increasing organic filings to address future assertion risk and patent acquisition to address present and near future risk.

How and Why LinkedIn Learned to Love Patents

In 2012, LinkedIn found itself a potential target for corporate patent asserters. LinkedIn had revenue reaching nearly $1 billion, with growth of 86%, yet owned only 22 patents. However, this changed fundamentally from 2012 to mid-2016, when LinkedIn grew its organic portfolio from 36 to over 1,000 patent assets and purchased more than 900, dramatically reducing its risk profile.

LinkedIn files suit to stop bots from data scraping its site

LinkedIn recently filed suit in the Northern District of California against Doe Defendants for allegedly “scraping” data about its users from its website through fake profiles and software bots. LinkedIn alleges that the data scraping that was performed using fake profiles and bots was in violation of its user agreement, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, among other things.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn brings social network analytics to Office software

On June 13th, the Redmond, WA-based multinational tech company Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that it had agree to acquire LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) in a $26.2 billion cash transaction which values LinkedIn stock at $196 per share. According to news reports, this is Microsoft’s largest corporate acquisition ever. It greatly outpaces the company’s $8.5 billion Skype acquisition and the $7.6 Nokia purchase, both of which happened prior to the tenure of current CEO Satya Nadella. With Microsoft’s acquiring LinkedIn at such a high premium, there has been talks that mergers and acquisitions may increase in the social network sector.

The Rise of Emoji

Millions of people, from talk show hosts to world leaders, have engaged in a dialog about and with emoji and what it means to communication. Emoji are becoming an increasingly pervasive communication instrument, increasingly used in advertising, to discuss social issues and advocacy, and to even a bridge communication tool between generations. There are even emoji related patents owned by Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others. Many commentators have speculated on the future of the emoji with an overwhelming consensus: this trend is here to stay.

American consumers increasingly happy with social media but not search engines

The big winner among social media e-businesses in the 2015 consumer index is Pinterest, the personal web cataloguing service headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Its consumer satisfaction index score rose by about 3 percent since last year to a score of 78, tied for the best 2015 index score of any e-business. Most people think of Pinterest as a fun website for getting party ideas or tips on how to style a home, but there have been some interesting aspects of Pinterest’s business developing. Recently, the Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) announced that Pinterest, which manages about 1.3 billion pins related to money management, is driving about 30 percent of the company’s social media traffic. A police department in Dover, DE, recently became one of a small but growing contingent of departments who have launched Pinterest accounts to advertise a public lost & found service. Pinterest users who have ever found themselves frustrated at an inability to purchase imaginative items they find on the site may be happy to note that the site is rolling out buyable pins.

The Impact of the First-to-File System on Premature Disclosures of Inventions on Social Media Websites

Social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, have changed the manner that businesses communicate and market their products and innovations. Although these tools may be beneficial by creating market “buzz” for new products through rapid information sharing, they may also be detrimental to a company’s patenting practices for the same reason. If disclosures of up and coming products are made on social media websites without the company first filing for patent protection, and the disclosures are then copied by a second party who then files an application based on the company’s social media disclosures, before the company does, then the first-to-file law could bar the company from patenting the invention, whereas the second party could then obtain patent rights to the invention disclosed on the social media site.