Last week in New Mexico, the heads of the state's federal research labs and major universities met to discuss how to implement and accelerate technology transfer programs. This meeting of the Collaborative Research & Development Council was its inaugural summit, called by Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, who is interested in creating new companies in the state based on research and technology from labs and universities. The council also includes members Paul Hommert, director of Sandia National Laboratories, Charles McMillan, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of New Mexico President Bob Frank. Other representatives present were from the Air Force Research Laboratory and White Sands Missile Range.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, known as WARF, recently announced a new technology transfer program called Discovery to Product, or D2P.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter announced it will be raising the price of its stocks in its initial public offering to the range of $23 to $25, from the previous range of $17 to $20. In the same filing, it announced it had received a letter from IBM alleging Twitter had infringed at least three U.S. patents held by the company. Famously, Twitter itself holds remarkably few patents, a state of affairs that many have said could jeopardize its IPO. In contrast, IBM holds an array of patents.
In the technology industry, intellectual property rights can be lucrative. This is evident from the success of the biggest tech companies, and from how often they face lawsuits from patent assertion entities. It's recently been reported that one of the giants will be selling its mobile patent portfolio.
According to Reuters, patent licensing company WiLAN is considering selling itself. The company holds more than 3,000 patents, and its business relies largely on negotiating licensing agreements with other companies whose products rely in some way on the patents WiLAN owns. Recently, WiLAN's activities have been covered extensively in the media, and in this space. The company filed lawsuits against many major technology companies, including Apple, for intellectual property infringement. While many companies chose to settle with WiLAN, it lost its suit against Apple. This caused WiLAN's stock to drop by 23 percent.
Christy Wyskiel, the new Senior Adviser to the President for Enterprise Development at Johns Hopkins University, was recently interviewed by The Baltimore Business Journal about her position and the interaction between research and enterprise. She has experience working as an investor in early stage startups, as well as supporting business and management advice to such companies.
The University of Michigan reported 421 new inventions in fiscal year 2013. University of Michigan's Tech Transfer program reported 108 licenses and options with existing and new businesses in the same period of time. According to the University of Michigan News Service, interest in technology transfers among faculty is on the rise.
Innovatio IP Ventures filed several lawsuits against dozens of entities in recent years, alleging infringement upon patents that it claimed were essential to the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. Prior to these lawsuits, Innovatio sought royalties from those same listed defendants, reportedly in the amount of $2,500 to $3,000 from each party named.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on a proposal that would allow for broad investigation into the business practices of so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs). The government agency would use its power of subpoena to examine the activities of approximately 40 organizations, 15 of which would be centered in the wireless communications sector.