In one of his final executive acts before Christmas, President Obama signed a new law which could have a range of implications for the international patent community. While several provisions are expected to boost administrative efficiency and strengthen protection, critics worry that extending the scope and term of design patents could have unintended consequences.
It has been a year filled with high stakes patent litigation for the U.S. technology sector, and that trend has continued all the way through to the final days of 2012. A Pennsylvania District Court judge has ordered semiconductor manufacturer Marvell Technology to pay Carnegie Mellon University $1.17 billion following the infringement of two patents tied to hard disk storage devices.
As the economy took a downward turn, entrepreneurial activity started trending upward in recent years. To turn good ideas into sustainable businesses, however, startup companies and sole inventors must look beyond gathering the foundational ingredients.
Verizon and AT&T have been operating as somewhat of a duopoly in recent years, with Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and a handful of others splitting the modest remainder of U.S. wireless subscriber market share. As 2012 comes to a close, Sprint is lining up a bold acquisition that could propel it toward the head of the pack.
Nokia and Research In Motion have decided to settle all outstanding patent litigation between the two sides as each plots its own strategy to close the widening gap in mobile market share created by Apple and Samsung. While the terms of the licensing agreement remain confidential, RIM will pay its Swedish competitor a one-time fee this quarter plus ongoing royalties.
The U.K. Intellectual Property Office has unveiled a new set of copyright reforms which could signal a watershed moment for the digital economy. In an effort to support the creative freedom of consumers and spur innovation, government officials will expand the number of scenarios in which protected works can be used without explicit permission of the original copyright owner.
The intersection of software development and intellectual property protection has been a popular destination for debate in recent years. But while some are calling for the absolute abolition of software patents, at least two well-regarded industry names are putting their dollars behind a more measured approach to reform.
The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, through its Batten Institute, released a briefing in April of this year covering the status of innovation in “green technology” as expressed in global patenting activity. The analysis defines “green technology” or “greentech” as “products and services that reduce energy and material consumption, waste and pollution.” According to the authors, the patents studied utilized the World Intellectual Property Organization’s classification system for alternative energy and covers the sectors of “solar, wind, geothermal, biofuel, biomass, fuel cell, hydro, synthetic gas, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), man-made waste, mechanical power from muscle energy, natural heat and waste heat.”
In a recent post by attorney Eric Lane on the business blog CleanTechies, results of the latest Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) are highlighted. The CEPGI, put out quarterly by the Cleantech Group at the law firm of Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C., has been tracking innovation activity in the clean tech industry since 2002, as measured by granted U.S. patents in the field.
Even after U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ordered Samsung to pay Apple approximately $1 billion in damages this past August, industry insiders insisted that there would be several more chapters in the pair's infamous infringement dispute. However, now that Koh has dismissed a number of intervening motions, the smartphone patent wars may be at least one step closer to their conclusion.
After four decades of negotiations, Europe made its most definitive attempt to establish a unified patent system to date with a signed proposal which will go into effect in early 2014. According to The Economist, 38 countries, including all 27 European Union members, have pledged support for a system that will automatically honor intellectual property rights across 25 nations, establish a new regulatory court and do away with linguistic barriers that so often compromised efficiency.
In the Association of University Technology Managers annual survey of patent licensing activity, analysts once again attempted to quantify the economic impact of member institution innovation. In this year's edition, however, several new questions provided researchers with novel insights.
Earlier this week, the Authors Guild celebrated its 100th anniversary in coordination with the Copyright Matters lecture series hosted by the U.S. Copyright Office. The event commemorated a number of important achievements, but conversation inevitably shifted to how the professional organization can survive and thrive in the digital era.
Consumer electronics have always been a big draw during the holiday shopping season, and the deep discounts offered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have only extended this trend. But as stores compete and consumers delight, few may be aware of the foundational role patent licensing strategies play in this seasonal phenomenon.
One of the America Invents Act's most significant provisions may not go into effect until March, but when it does, a flurry of activity could follow shortly thereafter. When the U.S. patent system officially completes its transition to a first to file framework, the speed with which inventors assess and commercialize inventions could take greater precedence than ever before.
The U.S. federal government invests approximately $147 billion in research and development each year, with nearly $90 billion allocated to institutions of higher learning. But according to Darrell West, director of governance studies for the Brookings Institute, this funding generates only a "very small" return on investment when weighed in terms of patent licensing fees.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently released its Fiscal Year 2012 Performance and Accountability Report, chronicling a year filled with legislative and procedural changes. After an initial review of the figures, PatentlyO's Dennis Crouch categorized the findings as encouraging news for patent quality.
Hostess, the soon-to-be-defunct maker of Wonder Bread, Twinkies and dozens of other baked good varieties, has received court approval to beginning selling off its assets and eliminating approximately 18,000 jobs. While this news came as some surprise to customers, according to the New York Times, it seems likely that several beloved brands under the Hostess umbrella could make a market return as the company's intellectual property portfolio is divided and distributed among eager bidders.
The rapid rate of digitization observed within the past decade has introduced several novel questions for copyright owners and attorneys, affecting everything from the royalty management terms signed by musical artists to library lending policies. As media producers, consumers and regulators across the United States struggle to interpret and respond to these developments, European lawmakers seem to be building a path to progress.
In an effort to bring environmentally-friendly innovations to market faster, intellectual property offices around the world have been instituting policies and practices that encouraged the streamlined processing of so-called "green" patents. According to the latest research commissioned by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, early returns from these "fast-tracking" frameworks suggest that legislation is having the desired result.
Many of today's entrepreneurs have grown accustomed to a rather frenetic pace of business, but this can set them up for a fall when venturing into the world of intellectual property management for the first time.