Tag Archives: Bruce Berman

Patent quality puzzle is dissected in new WIP0 magazine article

A good patent is becoming increasingly harder to find.

In the current issue of WIPO Magazine my article, “The puzzle that is patent quality,” looks at how the importance, market value and reliability of a patent can vary with perspective, as well as its right to exist.

Patent quality may start with validity but it does not end there.

“[With patents] the discussion is typically about validity, not the quality of an invention or its market value,” I write. “When someone speaks of a ‘good’ patent they could be referring to one or more characteristics: the patent’s likelihood of being upheld if enforced (litigated), the importance of coverthe invention it excludes others from practicing; or its relative value (in terms of protecting profit margins or generating direct licensing revenue) to a particular holder at a given time.”

Defining a patent that is worthy of scrutiny, and provides a degree of certainty, is no easy feat.

More work is needed on the legal and market implications of patent quality, as is a better system for determining patent quality and value earlier and more efficiently for a broader range of technologies. The uncertainty associated with patents costs companies billions and dissuades innovation and investment.

The August issue of WIPO Magazine is available here. My piece begins on p. 16.

For the slightly shorter web version go here.

Image source: iplawleaders.com; wipo.int.

New Book Takes a Hard Look at How Businesses Profit from Patents

‘The Intangible Investor’ scrutinizes how to generate the best returns in innovation — Why some significant holders would rather see patents weakened, including their own.

What is innovative? Who owns it? What are the best ways to generate a return on new ideas? These are among the most vexing questions facing businesses today.

The Intangible Investor, by IP CloseUp contributor Bruce Berman, shines a light on the controversies surrounding innovation rights, including patents that protect inventions and copyrights that cover music and books.

It also helps readers to differentiate between patent “trolls,” who rely on the high cost of litigation to secure quick settlements with questionable patents, and legitimate holders that wish to license quality rights for a market price. The motivation of parties who fuel the debate with mud-slinging and half-truths is also scrutinized.

The Intangible Investor – Profiting from Intellectual Property: Companies’ Most Elusive Assets (CloseUp Media, ISBN-13: 978-0615952352) goes to the heart of what constitutes the innovation economy: ideas, performance and utilizing intellectual property rights to generate value.

The book’s website here provides more information, as well as a sample that includes the Introduction and Foreword. 


“Bad Actors?”

Bruce Berman’s fifth book provides businesses, investors and general audiences (1) a basis for understanding how IP can generate hidden value, (2) a foundation for what is meant by patent quality, and who, in fact, are the IP systems’ bad actors, and (3) a context to discern IP developments of the recent past in the hope of providing a clearer vision of the future.

“One of the most remarkable things about this collection is how these 64 essays written have weathered the test of time,” says Gene Quinn, editor of the popular IP Watchdog and a patent attorney who wrote the Foreword

“They are as relevant today as they were when they were written for IAM beginning in 2003, which is a testament to Berman’s forward thinking and understanding of the issues.”

The Intangible Investor is available in print and digital editions for under $20, and can be purchased on Amazon.com here.

Image source: CloseUp Media

IP CloseUp 2013 – It was a Very Good Year

IP CloseUp’s most active day increased more than ten-fold.

IP CloseUp was viewed about 16,000 times last year. If it were a concert at Carnegie Hall, it would take about six sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Readers were from 116 countries, with the U.S., UK and Canada leading the way. The most active day was “Rockstar’s Deal with Spherix Could be a Game-Changer” on November 1, with 1,659 views. The post was originally published in July.

IP CloseUp content has appeared on IP Frontline.com, IP Strategy.com, and ipeg.com, among other media. Posts also are available through Twitter and LinkedIn. Bruce Berman’s column, The Intangible Investor, which has appeared in every issue of IAM magazine since 2003, will be published as a book in 2014.

To our growing readership, thank you for following us. We will do our best to keep you enlightened and entertained in 2014. Happy New Year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared the 2013 annual report for IP CloseUp.

Profs Say Patents Kill Innovation; Strategists Say They Frame It

The Great Patent Debate: A Session to Remember –

Those who attended the “The Great Debate” earlier this summer at the Intellectual Property Business Congress in San Francisco came away challenged and enlightened. A few, it would be accurate to report, were even startled.

For those who could not be there in person a video recording of the session is now available from IAM, the producers of the Congress. It also can be seen by clicking on the image below.

The session pitted Boston University and Berkeley Professors Michael Meurer and Peter Menell against 3LP Advisers consultants Ralph Eckardt and Mark Blaxill. Your humble correspondent had the honor of moderating and maintaining the Marquess of Queensbury Rules. (“No wrestling or hugging allowed.”)

It was a standing room only affair attended by more than 500. Even a broken pipe spraying water on dozens of audience members could not dampen the audiences desire to hear the firey pro and con. (The disruption is observable on the video.)

The net-net: Some experts believe that patents are damaging, even dangerous, and should not be treated like tangible assets such as real estate. Others believe that extracting value from IP rights like patents is a key to innovation and to competing successfully.

The session is worth seeing if you were not there or revisiting (without the umbrella) if you were.

Kill or Frame? — The Great Debate, San Francisco, 2011


Video source: IP Business Congress

The Great Patent Debate Will Kick-Off Day Two of World IP Business Congress in San Francisco

Do Patents Help or Hurt Innovation?

Skepticism about the patent system is growing even as more businesses and people benefit from IP rights.

Recent passage of the biggest overall of U.S. patents since the 1950s does not seem to have meant much, and cries of “too much” patenting are still being heard. A recent story in  The Economist (“The spluttering invention machine”) underscores the issue.

 Are patents net positive for innovation and commerce, or are they merely a drain on them that fills the pockets of special interests? Why do many IP-rich companies want to see weaker not stronger patents?

Is the playing field for patents leveler today or does it still favor some holders over others?

“The Great Patent Debate” taking place at the Intellectual Property Business Congress at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel on June 21 will attempt to find out.

Participating in what is expected to be a heated discussion:  Michael Meurer, author of Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, a controversial book which details a complex system run wild; Peter Menell, co-founder and director of The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, and a leading authority on patent law and practice who opposes the Property Rights Movement; and Mark Blaxill and Ralph Eckardt, authors of The Invisible Edge, proponents of patent strategy for businesses and investors.

Blaxill and Eckardt are Managing Partners of 3LP Advisors, which advises Tessera (NASDAQ: TRSA), among the growing number of patent holders who actively monetize their R&D through patent licensing and litigation.

Moderating the debate will be your humble IP Insider, Bruce Berman.

States the IPBC program: “Some see [the patent system] as a crucial facilitator of innovation that underpins business success. Others are not so sure and regard it as an expensive hindrance to innovative companies.”

• Head-to-head debate

• Key assets or an expensive waste of time?

• Encouraging innovation or a brake on it taking place?

• Tweaking the system or fundamental reform

I hope some of you can make the IPBC in SF.  Held previously in Munich, Chicago and Amsterdam, and hosted by UK-based IAM, the IP Business Congress is the most auspicious gathering for patent strategy and monetitzation.

This year’s Bay-area inspired presentations, discussions and networking are sure to entertain as well as enlighten.

Illustration source: IPBC

European IP Leaders Meet at 4th Summit

Vision is Focus for Brussels IP 2010

Leading figures in European intellectual property business, regulation and finance, as well as several prominent Americans, will be on hand for the 4th Pan European Intellectual Property Summit, Brussels IP 2010, December 2nd-3rd.

This year’s theme is “A Vision for Europe.” Speakers include Nellie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, who will address “Reconciling the Need for IP Protection with Open Standards.”

Among the 150 speakers, moderators and panelists will be your humble IP Insider discussing “How Private Equity Can Leverage IP” (Friday, 11:00).  I hope I will see you there.

More than 600 delegates are expected to attend.

For the full program click here.

Illustration source: Premier Cercle

The Intangible Investor

From Frames to Claims

Many of you are aware that since 2002 I have been writing a regular column for IAM magazine, IP Investor. We recently changed the title to The Intangible Investor, to reflect the more complex nature of IP assets and new

ways they are being measured and monetized. In IAM 39 I also provide some insight into how my career in film scholarship (I was teaching at Columbia) morphed into a serious regard for IP rights. The piece is called “A Curious  Journey:pdf

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