Tag Archives: IP rights

Tech pioneer Nolan Bushnell to keynote IPO annual meeting in SF

This year’s Intellectual Property Owners Association annual meeting will feature a presentation by the founder of Atari Computer and Chuck E Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater, Nolan Bushnell.

Another keynote will be presented by John Cabeca, Director of the Silicon Valley USPTO. More than forty service providers, law firms and IP holders will be exhibiting at the three-day even from September 17-19 at San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis.

Mr. Bushnell, an American electrical engineer and businessman, has started more than 20 companies and is a video game pioneer.

He established Atari, Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre chain. Mr. Bushnell has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame, received the Nation’s Restaurant News “Innovator of the Year” award, and was named one of Newsweeks “50 Men Who Changed America.”

2017 IPO meeting highlights include:

  • Monday Patent General Session: Alice and the 101 Wonderland

The law on § 101 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal Alice ruling has been a murky morass to navigate.

With district court, PTAB, and Federal Circuit decisions that are all over the map, and calls for the abolishment of § 101, IPO recently introduced a legislative proposal to address the lack of predictability in § 101.

Panelists will discuss these issues, whether the current state of § 101 is promoting or inhibiting innovation, and what if anything should be done going forward.

  • Two Corporate Panels at 11am on Monday
  1. Patent Session: In-House Best Practices: Strategies for Adapting to a Rapidly Changing Environment
  2. Strategic Partnering with In-House Trademark Counsel
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For the full program, go here. To register, here.

Image source: ipo.org

 

Patents are rights, not privileges; Jefferson story is “historical myth”

Is it any wonder why patents are widely despised and holders mistrusted?

Patents and other IP rights have been caught in the perfect storm of anger towards the government, the entitled, and ideas too complex to fathom on Instagram.

Patents are difficult to explain and uncertain in nature. To many people they represent inscrutable and insurmountable barriers to entry that are erected with government sanction and controlled by an elite class of corporations, lawyers and speculators acting on their own behalf.jefferson-300x300

Ten-Second Lesson

Many people are introduced to the world of IP by nasty anti-piracy notices: two ten-second screens on the head of DVD and Blu-Ray discs that the viewer is forced to sit through.

That may or may not be an effective piracy deterrent, but it is a hell of a way to introduce viewers, especially young people, to copyright protection. It would not make a believer out of me. Surely, the government and motion picture industry can do better.

Such warnings are accompanied by an advisory that “For more information about how digital theft harms the economy, please visit, www.iprcenter.gov.”

I doubt that anyone (other than IP CloseUp) is dumb enough to actually visit the IPR Center. Did you know that it is home of National Intellectual Property Coordination Center, which is run by  the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)? I did not know that.

Its website explains that the IPR Center “stands at the forefront of the United States Government’s response to global intellectual property (IP) theft and enforcement of its international trade laws.”

Heavy Baggage

In “The perils of privilege” in the September issue of IAM Magazine (out next week) I weigh some of the heavy baggage that accompanies IP ownership, especially patents, which to this day still are confused with royal grants of authority bestowed by English monarchs.

“In reviewing primary historical sources in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it is apparent that the Jeffersonian story of patent law [as privilege] is a historical myth,” writes George Mason Law Professor Adam Mossoff in a provocative 2007 article in the Cornell Law Review, “Who Cares What Thomas Jefferson Thought About Patents?”

banner1“Judge Rich once criticized labeling patents as monopolies due to the negative ‘emotional’ baggage that the term ‘monopoly’ carries with it. He recognized that ‘talk of the patent monopoly weds patents to prejudice, which is not conducive to clear thinking.’”

Modern patents are not privileges, but natural rights and may present an opportunity for the holder, in rare circumstances, to profit for a limited period of exclusivity in exchange for disclosing information about an invention. Patents are about sharing ideas to inspire more and better ones, and facilitating new and occasionally important improvements. They are natural rights, not monopolistic grants of privilege.

Blurred Lines

In a digital world, the line between ownership and fair-use continues to blur. Walking off with other people’s IP is as reflexive as going to the tap for a drink of water. To be fair, it is not always clear who owns what.

Violating the IP rights of others is more widely regarded as acceptable than perhaps at any time in American history. It is difficult to know who or what is responsible. One thing is for sure, educators and lawmakers are ill-equipped to answer the most fundamental questions about patents: why do they exist and whom do they benefit?

 

Image source: upfromslavery.com; iprcenter.gov

 

EU study: IP holders have 29% more revenue per employee; pay 20% higher wages

Companies that own intellectual property rights typically generate 29% higher revenue per employee, have about six times as many employees, and pay wages that are up to 20% higher.

These are the main findings of a study released recently by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) acting through the EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.

Intellectual property rights and firm performance in Europe: an economic analysis is based on official public financial data from more than 2.3 million European firms, covers companies which own patents, trade marks and designs at both national and EU level.

“The results demonstrate that businesses that own intellectual property rights generate more revenue per employee than those that do not, have more employees and pay higher salaries to their workers and that 440px-OHIM_logo.svgthis relationship is particularly strong for SMEs,” said António Campinos President, OHIM. “This is in our view is a very important message for Europe’s businesses and policymakers, highlighting the virtuous cycle between IP and economic performance.”

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One of the key findings in the study is that a modest share of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe own patents, trade marks or designs. It also finds that those SMEs which own such rights have almost 32% higher revenue per employee – a significantly higher economic performance, showing significant relative benefits associated with the ownership of IP rights. SMEs are companies which employ fewer than 250 people and which have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro.

This report, which looks at the contribution of IP rights at a company level, is a follow-up to a first EU-wide analysis of the contribution of IP rights intensive industries to economic performance and employment.

It found that about 40% of total economic activity in the EU (some €4.7 trillion annually) is generated by IPR-intensive industries, and approximately 35% of all employment in the EU (77 million jobs) stems directly or indirectly from industries that have a higher-than-average use of IP rights.

The report can be found here. For further information on both studies go here.

Those tweeting or retweeting this post please use #ipcloseup.

Image source: oami.europa.eu

Patent ‘Quality Summit’ will be open to the public, March 25-26

The goal of the USPTO gathering is to promote discussion of ways to improve patent quality.

The first Patent Quality Summit will take place at United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, VA on March 25-26.

The two-day event’s opening session, “Perspectives on the Importance of Quality,” will feature corporate counsel, private practitioners, academics, economists, and jurists. Sessions will be open to the public, and those wishing to attend the Quality Summit but cannot be in Alexandria, they will be able to listen to and watch the presentations via a live stream. Participation in the Brainstorming sessions will be via WebEx during which virtual attendees will be able to participate interactively.

According to a press release the gathering is intended to “encourage robust discussions among USPTO leadership; patent prosecutors, litigators, applicants and licensees; and other members of the public interested in USPTO’s efforts to further improve patent quality through its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative.

The conference draft agenda, three pillars to improve quality and six proposals can be found here, as well as information about virtual attendance. 

A focus of the Summit will be on improving patent operations and procedures to provide Quality SUMMIT Logo-02the best work product, to enhance the customer experience, and to improve existing quality metrics. USPTO has already set in motion several quality initiatives, including robust technical and legal training for patent examiners, as well as a Glossary Pilot, Quick Patent IDS Program, First Action Interview Pilot, and After Final Consideration Pilot.

Public Comments Solicited

Separate from the Quality Summit, the USPTO is seeking public comment on its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative. Comments in this round will be accepted through May 6, 2015. For further information about the summit – including a draft agenda – and instructions for submitting comments, visit the Federal Register Notice.

“High quality patents permit certainty and clarity of rights, which in turn fuels innovation and reduces needless litigation,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, Michelle K. Lee.

Image source: uspto.gov

Perfect Storm is Set to Slam IP Rights, Holders

Everyone Will Take a Hit

Broad and largely unfounded disdain for intellectual property rights and holders has gone beyond bickering between operating companies and NPEs, or Hollywood (old economy) and Silicon Valley (new economy). It  is starting to have an impact on innovation and investment, and how stakeholders view intangible property, like music, software and new drugs.

The perfect IP storm is about to make landfall. Those already dubious about the use of patents and other rights see an opportunity to cut them down further. Inducing broad audiences to see IP as casually issued monopolies in the best interests of a few is getting easier and, worse still, somewhat fashionable.

Technology and business media are joining with political organisations, such as highly successful Pirate political parties in Germany and Sweden, some tech businesses, law makers and an increasing number of academicians to challenge IP. Disdain for patents and copyrights is not new. Its political correctness is.

Rights or privilege? 

Nurtured by half-truths about IP abusers locking out competitors and shaking down businesses, many people believe that intellectual assets impede innovation and represent privilege; they are akin to bank bailouts and inflated CEO compensation. Having been dealt stiff body blows by the courts and recent legislation, IP is on the ropes.

I would venture to say that many, including some OWSers, believe IP is simply 1%-type control masquerading in sheep’s clothing.

Of greater concern (to me, at least) than naysayers are IP managers and attorneys (executives and investors, too) who know better, but remain silent about how IP works and who it serves. What are you waiting for?

Read the full story, “The Imperfect Storm,”  in this month’s The Intangible Investor in IAM magazine.

Image source: http://www.iphonasia.com

iPlaces – SF Bay Area-Silicon Valley

IP Asset-land –

Some places lend themselves to innovation. Some also lend themselves to new uses of innovation rights. Silicon Valley is one such area. In and around Palo Alto are perhaps the highest concentration of  IP-centric companies, investors and strategists.

Among notable IP people in the Bay Area (in no particular order): Peter Detkin (IV, Palo Alto), Ron Laurie (Inflexion Point, PA), Kevin Rivette (3LP, Tessera, PA), Pat Sullivan (The Gathering, PA), Irv Rappaport (former CIPO Apple, National Semi, SmartPatents, PA), Vincent Pluvinage (IV, PA),  ipValue, Kent Richardson (ThinkFire, Mountain View), Joe Chernesky, Ron Epstein, Michael Pierantozzi (iPotential, San Mateo), Joe Beyers (Ambature, Cupertino) to name a few. In nearby SF I am aware of John Amster (RPX), Rob Aronoff (Pluritas), Joe Mullin (The Prior Art), Victoria Slind-Flor (Bloomberg), Zusha Elinson (The Recorder) and Suzanne Harrison (Gathering 2.0).

Robert Barr, formerly head of IP at Cisco, is now executive director of the Center for Law & Technology in Berkeley. The late, great Jim Fergason, an IP Hall of Fame inventor of the LCD, lived in Atherton and worked in PA. IP-centric companies are too numerous to mention.

I know that I am leaving some people out, so please post a comment and let me and readers know who should be included.

The question is why the SF Bay Area? What in the air (or water) makes people look at innovation differently?

The WALL STREET JOURNAL
Power Tables – IL FORNAIO

I think it may have to do with open-minded, arguably libertarian approach to wealth and life-style that pre-dates the Gold Rush. People are not afraid to try new things – or, at least, to look at intangibles imaginatively.

There is no shame in failure, the locals seem to be saying; there’s great shame in failing to try.


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