The University of Arizona now has renewed confidence that the innovations generated inside campus laboratories will make a splash in the commercial marketplace as well. According to the Arizona Daily Star, this optimism stems from a bold new vision outlined by recently appointed technology transfer director David Allen.
Just about every leading brand in the mobile device marketplace has found itself embroiled in one form of patent litigation or another within the past year. But as these so-called patent wars foster an unfortunate climate of hostility, one of the more beneficial side effects could be a renewed awareness of the role savvy intellectual property management can play in revenue strategies.
The last decade has offered software manufacturers plenty of case studies on the risks and rewards that surround patent management. But while the technologies and legal statutes surrounding this segment may be growing increasingly complex, companies should not lose sight of all the fundamental steps they can take to protect their interests from the beginning so that they may monetize their assets down the line.
Musical artists and industry executives know all too well the effect that digital business models have had on revenue prospects over the past decade. However, it is now the internet radio pioneers that are starting to feel the squeeze and ask for amendments to current royalty management frameworks.
Not long ago, digital video recorders (DVRs) were still synonymous with TiVo. However, a recent influx of rivals has forced the company to leverage its intellectual property portfolio more aggressively and secure licensing fees via litigation.
Light-emitting diodes, better know as LEDs, have been a seemingly endless source of inspiration for high-tech inventors. But as the underlying components for the versatile lighting technology continue to rapidly evolve, intellectual property management has become a much more competitive pursuit in recent years.
A recent article posted on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) web site highlights the efforts of one Canadian company to improve “in situ”, or underground, oil production processes. According to the piece, Petrobank Energy and Resources, a Calgary-based energy and technology company, has spent the past three years field-testing its THAI™ (Toe to Heel Air Injection) technology. The technology advances the science of heating and loosening bitumen deep underground and subsequently pumping it to the surface. Environmental as well as production efficiencies are gained in this process, in part, by minimizing the amount of water and natural gas needed to heat the bitumen in a horizontal underground reservoir. This is accomplished by heating only the bitumen around the “toe” of the underground well, and completing the heating process by creating a combustion reaction through targeted air injection. The technology reportedly produces other benefits as well, including minimal water usage, a smaller surface footprint, a partial upgrade of this low-grade hydrocarbon while still underground by virtue of the combustion process, and residual materials produced by the process serving as fuel for continued combustion.
US Oil Sands, Inc, a subsidiary of US Oil Sands with main offices in Calgary, announced recently that the Canadian Intellectual Property Office granted its patent application for an extraction methodology. US Oil Sands Inc for now is focused on a large exploration and extraction project in the state of Utah. The patent covers an oil sands extraction process which the company says dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. According to the announcement, the process uses a unique bio-solvent to extract bitumen – a low-grade hydrocarbon which can be refined into oil – without the need for tailings ponds. Tailings ponds are typically used to contain the residuals of oil sands mining operations. The company is confident that this innovative technology will provide it with a substantial competitive advantage as well as a leap forward for the US in meeting its domestic energy requirements.
In an article first published in 2011, Mark Sajewycz, a partner with the law firm Norton Rose Canada LLP, surveys alternative intellectual property protection paths available to Canadian oil & gas companies. It is not just the land or resources beneath it that represent the value, but also the enabling exploration, extraction and upgrade technologies, argues Sajewycz. He adds that holding rights to such technologies can be powerful competitive advantages. Careful consideration should therefore be given to the vehicle one chooses to protect these innovations.
One of the more unique provisions contained in the America Invents Act was a rule which, for the first time in the history of United States patent law, would allow third parties to submit relevant materials directly to patent examiners. This week, the patent community learned what form the inclusive new system would take as the USPTO unveiled an online portal called Ask Patents.
According to a recent piece by Bruce Berman of Brody/Berman posted to IP CloseUp®, organizations should not necessarily measure the quality or success of their patents in terms of patent yield per R&D dollar spent. In other words, says Berman, while relevant, more R&D and more patents – even if the result is a lower average cost per patent filed - “are very limited indicators of success…” It depends upon the reasons a company is embarked on the effort, which in turn is (or should be) a function of the company’s strategy. “Is it to obtain patents that provide design and sales freedom?” Berman asks. “To reveal ideas for new products? To generate licensing income? All of the above?”
In an article posted on the ASME web site in August 2012, Mark Crawford highlights the key role played by engineers in the creation and early protection of intellectual property rights.
One year after receiving President Obama's signature, the majority of reforms included in the America Invents Act have now taken effect. Earlier this week, new rules addressing both initial application processing and post-grant review were officially incorporated into U.S. patent law.
Apple and Google may have a commanding lead in the mobile device market, but their closest competitors came together this week to negotiate a potentially significant licensing agreement. By providing Research In Motion with access to its proprietary file storage technologies, Microsoft may have given the struggling Canadian manufacturer reason for hope.
In the preliminary findings released from a study due out later this year, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) recently revealed that the number of patents issued to academic applicants rose to an all-time high in fiscal year 2011. In total, university researchers were responsible for the filing of nearly 20,000 U.S. patent applications last year and were awarded approximately 4,700 patents in return.
With media piracy evolving from an internet annoyance into a broader economic affliction in recent years, both public and private entities have taken notice and demanded stricter copyright enforcement efforts. After several months of delay, Center for Copyright Information (CCI) recently confirmed that it will debut its Copyright Alert System before the end of the year.
In March of this year, Cessna Aircraft announced at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibit (ABACE) plans to collaborate with Chinese partners on the development and manufacturing of existing and new jet designs. This sparked some fresh thinking about the integrity of intellectual property protections in such global collaborations.
Anthony L. Velocci, Jr. writes in a recent article for Aviation Week that thousands of entrepreneurial companies are flourishing across the aerospace industry worldwide. They are “vibrant source[s] of innovation and value-creation” given their “wealth of specialized skills, cutting-edge intellectual property, highly educated workforces, relationships with government officials and large aerospace customers, and, in many cases, valuable security clearances.”
“Small companies are an incredibly rich source of innovation,” Velocci quotes Charles Wessner as saying. Dr. Wessner, the director of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the National Academy of Sciences, goes on to say “[t]hat is where big technology companies come from, and that is where the big companies go for innovative ideas.”
Allied Minds, a Boston-based investment firm, has reached agreements with several U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) research laboratories in a wide-ranging technology transfer strategy intended to spur economic growth through the commercialization of military innovations.
The implementation of a first to file system in March 2013 promises to be one of the most significant changes brought about by the America Invents Act. This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office unveiled a new proceeding that will serve as an additional safeguard that ensures true inventors gain and maintain their rightful protection under the new framework.
Today's business models are more collaborative than ever, with companies exploring unique partnerships intended to add new dimensions and value to their product lines. But without proper identification and protection of their intellectual assets, firms could find it difficult to reap the full reward of their inclusive policies.
Although amassing a large and diverse intellectual property portfolio can be a valuable pursuit, companies must realize that risk escalates as assets continue to accrue. As a result, quantifying the potential threats to portfolio value and relevance has become a more pressing component of IP management strategies.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision to establish one of its four satellite offices in Denver has been viewed as validation of Colorado's claim as the country's next great innovation hub. The state has now received a similarly significant vote of confidence, with NASA officials expressing a keen interest in local technology transfer programs.
Google has been a focal point of recent intellectual property controversies relating to the mobile device market, but its next battle may stem from a dispute that began more than seven years ago. According to the Associated Press, U.S. Circuit Court Judge Denny Chin has refused any additional delays in a class-action lawsuit that charges Google with misappropriating copyrighted materials in its quest to develop the world's largest digital library.
Intellectual property managers are acutely aware of how important it is to recognize and catalog innovative ideas. But while most of the focus remains on adding inventions to their portfolios, it's just as important to account for how new business developments might affect the way those intellectual assets are handled.