Tag Archives: Silicon Valley
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Can small businesses afford weaker U.S. patents?

Can businesses and entrepreneurs compete with weaker U.S. patents in an innovation-driven global economy?

An event featuring a broad range of IP thought-leaders on October 26 in Silicon Valley will attempt to find out.

“Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Patenting in the U.S. – Implications for the future of U.S. Competitiveness” is the topic of a presentation and networking session being held at H-P World Headquarters in Palo Alto on Wednesday October 26 at from 6:00 to 8:imgres30.

The event is open to the public and limited seating is available on a first come basis. There is a $40 charge to cover food and refreshments.

Speakers include Professor Carl J. Schramm, The Hon. Judge Randall Rader (Ret.) David J. Kappos, former USPTO Commissioner and former head of intellectual property at IBM, and Professor Adam Mossoff of George Mason University School of Law where he co-founded the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property. Robert Aronoff is the organizer. The International IP Commercialization Center is the sponsor.

For the full list of speakers go here. To register go here.

Image source:iipcc.org

Four timely events kick-off September IP conference season

September is back-to-school for kids. For IP rights followers it is back to keeping up with the myriad changes in law and value.

At least Four conferences – in New York, Silicon Valley and Tokyo – are worthy of serious consideration. Two of them are offer IP CloseUp readers a discount on registration.

imgresOn September 8 IPBC Japan will be held in Tokyo. IP Business Congress conferences are held globally every year and regionally, throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Building on the success of regional one-day events held in Korea, Taiwan and China, IAM returns to Japan with a one-day event focusing on . “Corporate IP Best Practice.” This dedicated jurisdictional event will take place at the Hotel Okura. All sessions will be bilingual, with simultaneous Japanese-English translations, and there will be significant opportunities to network.

IP CloseUp readers use promo code IPCU2016 to receive a discount.

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The 44th Intellectual Property Owners Association Annual Meeting will take place at the New York Hilton on September 11-13. Patent, trademark and copyright issues will be featured. For the full schedule, go here.imgres

Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.  IPO serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology.

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A third important IP event to take place in September is In-House Strategy: Digital Media and Technology IP. Mark September 21-22 on your calendar in Santa Clara, CA, the heart of Silicon Valley. The conference agenda can be found here.

This conference is designed for counsel at companies of all sizes involved in the software and technology space. Presenters and panelists will discuss updates in trade secret, patent, and copyright law, and to hear updates about best practices and real-world advice on efficient IP protection.

IP CloseUp readers please use promo code IPCUBB to take $100 off of your registration.

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The newly enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act has been described as the most significant expansion of federal trade secret law since the Lanham Act was enacted in 1946.press-mip

On September 27 at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto, Managing Intellectual Property is holding “MIP Trade Secrets Forum.”

$300 discount off the full delegate is available to IP CloseUp readers to attend. In-house counsel, corporate professionals, and academics attend free of charge. For the program, go here. To register, go here.

 

Image source: company websites

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$300 discount for IPCU readers to attend US Patent Forum 2016

The fifth annual US Patent Forum is returning to Washington DC on March 17, 2016. A similar forum will precede it in Palo Alto on March 15.

In light of the recent US patent developments, the US Patent Forum, hosted by Managing Intellectual Property magazine, will take an in-depth look at topics affecting US patents today.

The conference will delve into post-grant proceedings before USPTO’s PTAB, examine strategies that make patents more secure, and explore levels of proof and understanding regarding how claims are construed.

Topics covered in the Washington US Patent Forum will include:

  • ITC Litigation and Licensing
  • Post-Grant Proceeding Before the PTAB
  • Uncertainty of Patentable Subject Matter
  • Patent Reform
  • Focus on Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court
  • Trade Secret Protection for Innovationpress-mip

Featured speakers include Tom Scott, former chair of Goodwin’s Proctor’s IP Department and now Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Personalized Media Communications (PMC), one of the leading patent licensing companies.

IPCU Reader-Discount

For Silicon Valley, the US Patent Forum, is being held at the Sheraton on El Camino and University, opposite the Stamford University Campus in Palo Alto on March 15. The focus will be the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and strategies for dealing with it.

A $300 discount is being offered off of the full delegate price to IP CloseUp readers who attend. Just mention this article. (In-house counsel and corporate executives attend for free.) 

Delegates are invited to attend a full day of discussion to hear from, and network with over 100 leading experts in multiple fields.

They will be able to participate in important discussion about the most significant developments in the US patent system and receive updates on important changes to major global IP systems from experts. There also will be opportunities to contribute to the discussion as well as learn.

For more information, or to register for US Patent Forum 2016, go here for Washington, and here for Palo Alto.

Image source: huffingtonpost.com; managingip.com

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Leading Blogger Unloads on Patent Critics and the Real Bad Actors

Innovation is not threatened by patent “trolls,” says a Virginia IP attorney, but by half-truths about the failure of the patent system spread by businesses looking to defend their turf.

The publisher of IP Watchdog, one of the most widely read blogs in the patent field, went from watchdog to bulldog this week, taking on businesses and lawmakers who falsely deride the patent system.

Gene Quinn, a seasoned patent attorney, says that the patent system is not dysfunctional. It’s many of the most established technology companies looking to stay on top who are.

Silicon Valley’s Anti-Patent Propaganda: Success at What Cost? is required reading for everyone affected by IP, especially those who believe that patent enforcement is ruining innovation and destroying the economy. Patent holders, small and large, NPE and operating company will find the article revealing if not relevant.

Motown Comes to the Valley

Whether we wish to believe it or not Silicon Valley is knee-deep in mature businesses. It is vaguely reminiscent of Detroit’s golden age, when new ideas in the automobile industry and real competition were considered a nuisance. Don’t let the overstuffed patent portfolios of many technology companies fool you: These are not patent friendly businesses and won’t be until they figure out, as Microsoft and Philips have, how to profit from good patents. One wonders if some Silicon Valley tech companies have become too big not to fail

Gene-12-10-2013“This [rhetoric about the failing patent system and rampant litigation] has led the media, the public and members of Congress to incorrectly believe that there is a ‘patent troll problem,’ which has influenced decision-makers all the way from Capitol Hill to the United States Supreme Court, who increasingly seems to be deciding patent cases with one eye firmly on what is a completely non-existent problem…”

“So how has such a factually baseless narrative been able to dominate the discussion? This propaganda was promoted by some of the elite Silicon Valley companies over the years, with Google leading the charge. But Google is a high-tech company. Why would they want to damage the patent system by spreading half-truths and reckless misrepresentations?…”

“Despite what some have been lead to believe, Google is a company that was founded on strong patent protection, having filed two patent applications prior to even obtaining the domain name Google.com. These patents related to Google’s proprietary page rank algorithm. The Google search algorithms, protected by patents, were how Google moved from fledgling start-up to eventually dominate the likes of Yahoo! and Microsoft.

“Simply stated, like virtually every other Silicon Valley start-up Google relied on the exclusive rights provided by patents and now that they are dominant they would prefer the patent system to evaporate so that the next round of dorm-room start-ups won’t be able to challenge Google in the same way that Google supplanted Yahoo! and Microsoft.

“The truth is Google is just one groundbreaking algorithm away from becoming old news.”

Sharing the Blame

Quinn says there is plenty of blame to go around:

“To a large extent Apple, Microsoft and many other Silicon Valley innovators went along with the anti-patent rhetoric perfected by the Google machine because they were facing what they called a ‘patent troll problem.’ This caused even innovation based leaders to throw in with Google and others in an attempt to vilify innovators and a patent system run amok. Such a myopic strategy risked the innovative future of these companies by putting their own patent portfolios in grave jeopardy in order to address the problems they were having with a relatively small number of truly bad actors who were clearly abusing the litigation process.”

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“The quickest way to get less innovation is to destroy the patent system. This should be self-evident to everyone, but sadly there are many intellectually challenged individualspinocchio-concept-250-225 who refuse to believe this objective truth. If patents inhibit innovation then why don’t countries without a patent system have run away innovation? If patents get in the way of innovation why do countries with the strongest patent rights have the most innovation?”

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Whether you agree or not with Gene Quinn he is a leading IP voice, unafraid to call it as he sees it in “Silicon Valley’s Anti-Patent Propaganda: Success at What Cost?”

Quinn’s strong words remind us that we live in a still great country with an active if imperfect legal system and a free press that, like patents, sometimes must be used to be fully appreciated.

Image source: ipwatchdog.com

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Silicon Valley: Too Big to Fail, or Too Big Not To?

Am I seeing things or is the innovation capitol becoming less hospitable to really new ideas and strong patents?

Are Silicon Valley’s guiding lights still willing to extend the welcome mat to entrepreneurs that provide potentially disruptive ideas and new business models?

While it may have the ability to periodically re-invent itself, we should not assume that San Francisco Bay Area has the confidence and perspective to avoid the mistakes of Detroit and the U.S. auto industry.

Firmen_im_Silicon_ValleyThe desire to maintain market share and profitability has turned companies once considered radically innovative somewhat mainstream. Some are stockpiling cash that they are uncertain about how to use and parking it off-shore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Silicon Valley: too big to fail, or too big not too?, published next week in IAM, uses The Intangible Investor column as a springboard to examine whether tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Cisco are still supportive of new ideas or just managing their position as top dog until someone bigger and badder forces them to yield.

Others’ Inventions

Independent developers and big companies have something in common: they both dislike recognizing others’ inventions. To them patents are considered an impediment as opposed to a potential asset that can provide the leverage to help them succeed. Surely the maze of broad, ill-defined patents can create a minefield that makes legitimate businesses cringe, but without these rights new industries and technologies would be even fewer and further between. Also, capital would likely be even less available for new businesses, some of which, like Apple and H-P, will grow into big ones that employ a lot of people.

Silicon Valley, home to successful tech giants like Intel, Oracle and eBay, appears to be turning more risk averse as it matures and failure becomes more costly. This really should not too much of a surprise. The question is what does it mean for innovation and inventors’ rights, and for investors? At last glance, Apple, for example, was sitting on $140 billion in cash, up from about $20 billion in 2008, with a stock that has lost about $300 per share from its peak. It’s not easy being highly innovative when you are protecting assets and stockpiling cash.

Hacker’s Mantra

The hacker’s mantra heard often around Facebook, “Move fast and break things,” may be turning into more style than substance. A pre-IPO valuation of $100 billion will tend to do that. “Move fast and break the bank,” may be more like it.

What happens to companies that rely on inventions that were once disruptive? They tend to get careful and want to hold onto what they have created and manage their success and minimize risk. Good for profits; not so good for next generation technologies, or investors.

The area south of San Francisco extending to San Jose was once mostly about transistors, bold hardware engineering and innovative marketing. Today the engineers have been supplanted with e-commerce pioneers and software programmers. The drive to breakaway and start your own business, while seemingly easier now, is waning in the face of increased costs, competition and time pressure to succeed. Weaker patents and a less reliable patent system do not help.

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Silicon Valley remains one of the most dynamic places for innovation. Unfortunately, it may take a recessionary cycle or two, another tech bubble, or cheaper real estate, to get its mojo back.

Illustration sources: toutapp.com; mashedreport.com

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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

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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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