Category Archives: Intellectual Property

In new case, Supreme Court revisits the question of software patents

By Timothy B. Lee – On Monday (Mar 31), for the first time since 1981, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether software — or more precisely, computer-implemented inventions — can continue to be patented.

Given the business interests at stake, the high court faces a rich dilemma: Since 1998, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued hundreds of thousands of software patents [2, 3] — collectively worth billions of dollars to companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. If they rule that software cannot be patented, the justices could decimate the patent arsenals of some of America’s wealthiest companies.

Software patents have had all the negative effects they anticipated: Innovative companies have been forced to divert resources from hiring engineers to hiring patent lawyers. more>

Google’s Giant $1 Patent Victory

By Susan Decker – Google paid to license the patents at issue in those cases on its own behalf as well as its users’.

Even so, the legal assault by Beneficial, a so-called patent troll that files infringement suits in search of settlements, continued. So Google sued for breach of contract.

On Jan. 23 a jury in Marshall, Tex., agreed with the Mountain View (Calif.)-based company that the terms of the 2010 deal had been breached.

The nominal damages—$1—were more than enough in this case, since Google’s real objective was to enforce the terms of the deal and not back down. more>

Maybe AT&T should fully divest from the communication industry

By George Mattathil – AT&T became the legend and most admired company in its glory days not by pursuing profits, but high ideals.

Theodore Vail, who architected its growth, developed a “strategy to achieve a single communication system offering the best possible service,” subordinating the maximization of profit.

And there was a vigorous campaign about “One policy, one system, and universal service,” to help implement a unified, coherent national network policy. more>


R&D Investment Pays Off

An Innovation Competence Process Coming From K...

An Innovation Competence Process Coming From Knowledge Management
(Photo credit: Alex Osterwalder)

R&D – Annually, Thomson Reuters analysts look at all companies around the world that file patents and perform a deep dive analysis of those with 100 or more unique inventions over the last three-year period. They measure each patent holder according to the number of its unique inventions, its success of applications to grants, the global nature of its patent portfolio and its influence on future innovation.

Another finding from this year’s Top 100 is that governments that incent innovation and R&D with tax credits and pro-innovation policies, have greater representation on the list. One can make the correlation between government policies, innovation, R&D and economic success. more>

The Intellectual Property System Is an Impenetrable Maze

By Richard Jefferson – Patents are teachings, true recipes for enterprise. By law they are fully open documents that exist for the purpose of enabling innovation. The idea—historically, at least—is to tell the world exactly how to create or implement whatever new, nonobvious and useful tool or process the patent covers. In exchange for this full disclosure the patent’s owner acquires a right to control its use for a specified time and within a set jurisdiction.

These problems are compounded for true innovations—economically impactful products and services built on new science and technology. Real innovations seldom, if ever, depend on a single invention or even a small number of them. On the contrary, modern innovations generally spring from hundreds of discrete items of intellectual property (IP). more>