Despite the prevalence of courtroom battles attracting attention in recent months, litigation should be considered a recourse of last resort in intellectual property management. This may be particularly true regarding trademarks, as an overzealous defense of one's branded assets could cost companies their customer loyalty in addition to the associated legal fees.
Comprehensive trademark management once required little more than cataloging and defending the distinguishing logos and phrases pasted onto a company's products and letterhead, but the age of online advertising has introduced new complexity to the matter. As web presence begins to factor more prominently into branding strategies, businesses must take care to ensure third parties are not willfully or accidentally taking advantage of any digital blind spots.
Colorado's reputation as a leading promoter of university technology transfer programs was one of several reasons the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office incorporated Denver into its expansion plans last year. The latest success story comes from the University of Colorado - Boulder campus where a team of engineering students have patented a medical device that could soon play a leading role in cancer research.
Choosing the correct intellectual property strategy to pursue can be as important as how that approach is executed. This maxim rings particularly true in the often misunderstood discipline of trade secrets management as many firms struggle to classify and protect their assets accordingly.
With government leaders confirming several cases of industrial espionage in recent months, a new bipartisan report issued by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property calls for more evolved and aggressive trade secrets management tactics. In total, 21 distinct recommendations were made to both public and private sector stakeholders.
Yahoo turned heads across the tech community this week with the announcement of an ambitious $1.1 billion acquisition of popular social media platform Tumblr. As the two sides sort out the logistics of their impending partnership, the more than 100 million users who currently host blogs on Tumblr are anxiously awaiting potential changes to the site's copyright rules.
Medical device giants Medtronic and Boston Scientific have been at odds with one another over the scope and application of an existing patent licensing agreement. While the burden of proof typically rests with the licensor in these instances, it will soon be up to the Supreme Court to decide exactly who is responsible for proving or disproving infringement in this unique case.
More businesses are coming to see that their intellectual assets are at least as, if not more, important to their continued growth as their financial holdings. But to ensure inventions simultaneously protect the company from competitors and expand its profitability, managers must adopt a more dynamic and detailed approach to identifying the most promising portions of their portfolios.
The so-called smartphone patent wars have brought considerable attention to intellectual asset management as leading names like Apple, Samsung, Motorola and many more continue to employ a variety of elaborate offensive and defensive tactics. While some would suggest that the resultant increase in litigation has hampered innovation, the lessons learned could transcend their specialized setting and help inventors in the green technology sector pursue smarter growth strategies.
Intellectual property awareness is perhaps as high as it's ever been across the business community, and investment priorities are beginning to reflect evolving executive opinions. In a recent global survey conducted by the Legal Exchange Network, corporate intellectual property managers are increasingly willing to look outside of company walls to source the tools and insights that can help defend and grow their portfolios.
The House Committee on Small Business recently invited several prominent academic and industry experts to testify at a hearing centered on recent reforms to the U.S. patent system. While panelists highlighted several significant successes, discussion also touched upon potential hurdles to continued support for small-business interests within the innovation economy.
The past few years have seen a notable increase in the number of legal disputes surrounding the licensure of standards-essential patents (SEPs). With more companies reaching an impasse on what constitutes fair and reasonable royalty rates, at least one judge has expressed a vision for taking a more proactive role in proceedings.
Patent pools have traditionally been promoted as a unique route for companies to gain affordable access to valuable intellectual assets by leveraging the current contents of their own portfolios. As this collaborative patent management strategy gains additional subscribers in increasingly complex industries, some are calling for a more thorough investigation of its impact on market innovation and consumer choice.
Digital rights advocates banded together earlier in the year to protest a Library of Congress decision that effectively made it illegal for cell phone owners to unlock and modify their device software to switch wireless carriers. After several bills were introduced and ultimately derided as half measures, a more comprehensive attempt at reform is currently being spearheaded by four representatives focused on core Digital Millennium Copyright Act issues.
With more cybercriminals now shifting their attention away from petty offenses and toward corporate intellectual property theft, executive priorities are beginning to evolve as well. According to the 13th annual Law and the Boardroom Study conducted by Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting, data security and IT risk have joined regulatory changes as the top concerns held by business directors and general counsel.
The European Commission has been investigating Motorola Mobility's patent licensing practices for more than a year now following allegations of potential abuses of power. This week, the EU's regulatory body formally revealed its preliminary judgment that the company was likely out of line when demanding a sales ban on Apple products in Germany on account of an infringement dispute.
As NASA continues to face the specter of deep budget cuts, the agency is looking toward investment opportunities with predictable, multifaceted returns. With that said, NASA recently revealed the latest iteration of the Small Business Technology Transfer Program it sees as central to both public and private sector scientific progress and prosperity.
Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante has revealed an ambitious vision for a comprehensive overhaul of royalty management systems, but the U.S. National Research Council is calling for an increase in federal analytics initiatives before enlightened reforms can be drafted and enacted.
New York Senator Charles Schumer has continued his push toward patent system progress this week with a new bill intended to reduce frivolous lawsuits and thwart legal bully tactics that could curb small business innovation. Under the new legislation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would be asked to assume a more proactive role earlier in the dispute process.
In accordance with the Trade Act of 1974, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its annual Special 301 Report detailing the adequacy and efficacy of intellectual property protection and enforcement protocols among international trade partners. While several countries demonstrated incremental progress, government officials confirmed that a variety of threats ranging from the theft of trade secrets to the degradation of authorized royalty management agencies continue to stalk the global marketplace.