Posts Tagged: "patents"

IP Contributes $5 Trillion and 40 Million Jobs to US Economy

Today I attended the an event on Intellectual Property and the US Economy which was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds. The purpose of the event was to unveil a study — Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus — prepared by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The study found that intellectual property intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs in the United States and contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). That is to say that 27.7% of all jobs in the U.S. were either directly or indirectly attributable to IP-intensive industries, and the amount contributed to the U.S. economy represents a staggering 34.8% of GDP.

The Smart Phone Patent Wars: What the FRAND is Going On?

This all came to a head when, on February 22, 2012, Microsoft Corporation filed a formal competition law complaint against Google with European Union antitrust regulators. Microsoft’s complaint was brought about because Google (i.e., Motorola Mobility) “has refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price” and “attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.” Well isn’t Google’s “maximum per-unit royalty of 2.25% of the net selling price for the relevant end product” in compliance with FRAND!? If you consider that often dozens (and sometimes, hundreds) of patents cover a single device, the answer is a resounding “no.” At 2.25% per patent, it would take only about four dozen patents before the entire selling price would be paid in royalties – an obviously absurd result.

An Exclusive Interview with Ray Niro, Mr. Patent Litigation

Raymond P. Niro is patent litigator with tremendous experience and a reputation that is larger than life. To some he is a champion of independent inventors and small business community, frequent clients of his. To others he is nearly the definition of evil. It was as a consequence of a lawsuit one of his clients brought against Intel in 2001 that the term “patent troll” was coined. He has been trial counsel in literally hundreds of intellectual property cases, and since 1996, has won verdicts and settlements for his clients totaling more than $1 billion. On March 12, 2012, he went on the record for this exclusive interview.

International Patent & Trademark Filings Set New Record in 2011

Despite difficult economic conditions worldwide, international patent filings under the WIPO-administered Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) set a new record in 2011 with 181,900 applications – a growth of 10.7% when compared with 2010, and the fastest growth since 2005. China, Japan and the United States accounted for 82% of the total growth, and the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corporation was the largest filer of PCT applications in 2011. 2011 also saw the highest number of international trademark applications ever filed under WIPO’s Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (“Madrid system”) with 42,270 applications, or a 6.5 % increase compared to 2010.

What is WIPO Doing to Combat International Patent Scams?

A conversation with Matthew Bryan, who is the Director of the PCT Legal Division at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regarding what WIPO is doing to combat patent schemes that plague the industry. As you will see, these schemes are lucrative. In one case that Bryan tells us about, in which he was an expert witness, a court in Florida “found that in the 2 years of operating, FIPTR had received over 2.5 million dollars in payments from PCT users just in the State of Florida.” With that kind of money potential it is easy to see why the scams persist.

Prior User Rights: Rewarding Those Who Don’t Contribute

Prior user rights also implicate free rider problems with respect to a subsequent patent that an inventor obtains covering the subject matter of the secret prior user. At the point of publication the prior user no longer maintains a trade secret. At the point of issuance, the patentee and the prior user relatively co-exist with each other in the market. The patentee excludes others from the market except for the prior user. The prior user then enjoys the benefits and advantages associated with the patentee excluding others from operating in the market, while being free from liability to the patentee. In this regard, the prior user enjoys the period of time operating the technology in secret in addition to 20 years of excluding others provided by the competitor.

Are Some Patent Holders More Equal Than Others?

What’s troubling is that Hewlett Packard itself, the original startup headquartered in a garage, was one of the earliest and most-respected leaders of the 20th Century high-tech revolution that had its epicenter in Silicon Valley. It was William Hewlett who gave a 13-year-old Steve Jobs spare parts for a device Jobs was building — and a summer job as well. And it was Mr. Hewlett and his executive heirs who insisted that HP conscientiously patent its breakthrough innovations and fight against those that infringed those patents. HP today earns hundreds of millions of dollars annually by licensing its patent rights to others — according to IAM magazine, “at any one time, HP has about 150 licensing transactions in process.” And as the court dockets show, it certainly isn’t shy about filing suit against infringers who refuse to take a license.

Are the Smartphone Patent Wars Giving Patents a Bad Rap?

So who is the villain in all of these wars responsible for again giving patents a bad rap? Well, the villain in not the ITC, USPTO or any U.S. government agency. Nor it is any country’s protectionist trade regime, or an “irreparably broken” U.S. or global patent system. No, the real villains here may very well be a handful of companies that willingly contributed patented technologies to various SSOs, championing their adoption and encouraging their use in a host of consumer electronics, and now claim (years later) that the very producers they encouraged to implement these standards should be barred from making, using or importing their products into the U.S. market.

The Eureka Method: How to Think Like an Inventor

In my experience, the passion to invent is stirred by two things: dissatisfaction with an existing product or service (i.e., too large, too slow, too expensive, too difficult to use), or a dream and desire to create something entirely new, a product or service that will augment humanity’s capability to reach farther, move faster, aggregate and analyze all sorts of data, or bring together pieces and form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Over my career I have been a named inventor on 147 U.S. patents. Over my career I have developed a process for identifying consumer needs and creating unique, patentable solutions that are relevant in the marketplace. I call this the Eureka Method. The Eureka Method is a mental discipline that can be learned and practiced to help you produce a Eureka! moment.

Happy Halloween! Learning with the Halloween Portable Container

The holiday patent du jour gives us the opportunity to explore the candy collecting aspects of trick-or-treating. More specifically, U.S. Patent No. 7,594,669 is for a portable container having wheels and a handle. What makes it worthy note on Halloween is that the container itself is either a pumpkin, witch, ghost, goblin, monster, vampire or werewolf. And yes, that is required in the broadest claim, claim 1. The pictures in the patent show a jack-o’-lantern version of the invention.

Mining Patent Gold: What Every CEO Should Know

The truth is that Google bought a great deal more than patents when it acquired Motorola, though there are doubtless some real gems in the Motorola portfolio. As a relative newcomer to the wireless arena, the search giant in one bold move got its hands on the unmatched innovation experience of the longest-lived mobile phone company on earth. The technical acumen and product experience of those thousands of mobile software and hardware engineers will prove hugely valuable to Google as it seeks to dominate the $250 billion global market in smartphones, especially if it decides to become a handset maker as Motorola had been.

The Myth of the Sole Inventor

The canonical story of the lone genius inventor is largely a myth. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb; he found a bamboo fiber that worked better as a filament in the light bulb developed by Sawyer and Man, who in turn built on lighting work done by others. Bell filed for his telephone patent on the very same day as an independent inventor, Elisha Gray; the case ultimately went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which filled an entire volume of U.S. Reports resolving the question of whether Bell could have a patent despite the fact that he hadn’t actually gotten the invention to work at the time he filed. The Wright Brothers were the first to fly at Kitty Hawk, but their plane didn’t work very well, and was quickly surpassed by aircraft built by Glenn Curtis and others – planes that the Wrights delayed by over a decade with patent lawsuits.

USPTO Names Iowa Library to Support Intellectual Property Information Needs of Inventors and Entrepreneurs

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the designation of Iowa’s Davenport Public Library as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). As the 81st library in the nationwide network, Davenport marks Iowa’s return to the PTRC program and serves as the first center geared away from the “paper depository” concept towards electronic access and training for patent and trademark information.

My Advice to Google – Keep Acquiring Patents

Most patents are obtained simply on the “refrigeration theory” as I call it. Just like if you are in food service you won’t get far without the preserving effects of refrigeration. Everything spoils unless eaten immediately. Likewise in technology; without the coverage of a patent, everything spoils unless consumed forthwith (first mover advantage). The decision is simple: if it is worth doing, i.e., putting resources into, it is worth patenting.

Patent Drafting Lessons: Learning from the Grappling Dummy

Such a long, detailed and narrow feature set may have been require to get a patent issued, but is the patent effort (i.e., time and cost) worth such a narrow set of claims? The answer can be a resounding YES, or a definite NO! It all depends upon what you want to do with the patent. One this is for certain though, if you add enough qualifiers and sufficiently narrow a claim you can get a patent on virtually anything, which is unfortunately a truth that invention promotion companies know all to well! In almost all circumstances the goal is to get the broadest valid claim you can possibly obtain. Getting a narrow claim is not likely going to be satisfying, which is why you really should do a patent search prior to deciding whether to even move forward with a patent application. Only by doing a patent search can you get any idea regarding the likely scope of patent claims that could be obtained.