Friday, December 19, 2014

Business method patent issuance has plummeted since Alice | Managing Intellectual Property

Business method patent issuance has plummeted since Alice | Managing Intellectual Property:

Trends in Business method patents has seriously dropped since the Supreme Court ruled on the Alice v CLS Bank case in June. The court ruled that an abstract idea is not necessarily a business method and saying that it will be done on computers (network/cloud) doesn't assure it to be a valid claim either.

This ruling knocks back business method (and software patents).

So the major drop in business method patents could well be attributed to this case. The charts are rather telling but looking at a few more moths in 2015 should really crystallize the picture.

This should also setback those questionable entities that camp out under the economic freeway, with a bundle of patents, and charge everyone coming and going a toll.

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Still Worth the Effort to get a Patent?

As global competition increases, the US courts and the Congress are virtually eliminating the single remaining Safe Harbor protection for inventors- the patent.  Two key factors.  In this article, the author describes the rulings in 2014 from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court invalidated 5 cases reviewed.   From June-December, federal courts have invalidated 15 out of 19 cases reviewed.

The second factor comes out of the American Invent Act which created the Patent Trial & Appeals Board in the USPTO.  In what can only be described as bizzare, an issued patent can be declared invaild by the same organization that declared it valid in the first place.  The PTAB invalidated 77% of the cases it reviewed.  And, 27 states are making it harder for a patent owner to assert rights againgst an infringer.

More profoundly, this sends a cold chill through inventors and research labs.  Why spend large amounts of time and money to invent the better mousetrap, file for a patent(s), have on issued only to have it declared invalid opening the door to cheaper foreign competition?  Where does the Constitutional protection for patents stand?  How can one have faith in a patent examiner?

The author stipulates that US Patents have, in effect, become toxic assets like a subprime mortgage.

So, when you're reviewing the new product launch with the CEO and he asks, " since we've spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this product, how are you going to protect it we can get and return on that investment," you answer...  Trade secret...?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anti-Counterfeiting... Should be more than one day of the year...

Here is an article from the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI)    June 5 is World Anti-Counterfeiting Day   (  It is a scary message counterfeiting of medications.  Note the opening sentence abut the deaths in 2012 from a false medication for malaria treatment.  Then, note that in some parts of the world about 1/3 of all medications are counterfeit.!

As the author indicates, there seems to be no limit to what can be counterfeited from fake brake pads to fake batteries.  There are serious potential hazards and consequences in these forgeries -- far worse than pirated CDs.

Here in the US, counterfeiting takes a back seat to patent infringements and copyright theft.  At least, from a public awareness perspective that seems to be the case.  But, maybe that low cost product on eBay or Amazon is not licensed and is suspect.

The old adage, if it looks too good to be true... it is too good to be true. Probably most of the books on Amazon and eBay are not legal. We have had experiences were our printed books were available for sale, but there were no physical copies of the book in distribution yet... Hmm...

At least, when you buy the ebook on Amazon in Kindle format you know that it is a legal copy and the majority of the payment goes to the creator/author, not to the pirates.
Minor edits: 12/17/2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

IP Monetization Yearbook from IAMmagazine.

Intellectual Asset Management magazine ( publishes a set of reports each year.  One is the "IP Monetization Yearbook."  The 2014 issue has 11 articles- one of which is Monetization of Royalties and Revenue Streams.  As the techniques for monetization of the enterprise's asset leader, IP, mature, the ways in which to monetize it should evolve to keep pace.  Here, the subject is the multiple ways in which to monetize royalties and other revenue sources from the IP portfolio.

As with most things, there are risks as well as benefits.  This makes due diligence and risk assessment mandatory.  A sample of the risk factors:
-  Revenue stream sensitivity to changes in consumer preferences
-  Technological, product or market obsolescence
-  Infringement risks
-  Risk of invalid IP

These factors potentially impact royalty interest purchases, IP securitization, multiple licenses, etc.

The article summarizes the basic structure of the licensing techniques, the pros and cons, the advantages and disadvantages.  What the article does not explore are the internal demands on the enterprise to develop the business strategies and revenue potentials against other internal revenue sources. (Product Management)  These licensing techniques  have much in common with a financial line of business requiring sophisticated financial plans.  This is not your IP Father's Patent Licensing Agreement from decades ago.

Already, IP Law and corporate finance are seated at the table.  Business Development and Strategic Planning need to join along with IP business managers.  And, once the royalty agreements are implemented, someone will have to manage the royalty collection and certification processes.

What organization in the enterprise owns these license agreements?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Automation Makes Us Dumb - WSJ

Automation Makes Us Dumb - WSJ:

So, it would seem, the sequel to being yet more dumber, is Dumber to.,,

In this article (and associated books, it appears) Nicolas Carr offers up the argument (and some evidence) that computers and automation are making us dumber.

One example is that pilots can lose their edge for flight if they let the auto-pilot (no, not Airplane 1,2, 2.5, 33 1/3) do virtually all of the driving.

It seems that psycho-motor skills are best practiced occasionally if you have a plane load of people and you might actually need to manually fly that bird to safety. Especially since the times when the actual pilot will need to take over the controls area likely to be under unusual or pending disasters circumstances.

Here's an interesting counter perspective from Carlos Alvarenga (via LinkedIn). He questions several aspects of the points posed by Carr.

Interesting discussion and counter points. The direct tie in to imagination and innovation is rather weak.

But definitely the focus of new systems and automation should be on the human side, not the machine side.

In the meantime, pilots should practices doing some of the actual flying to make sure that they can effortlessly do it if/when then need to.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Supreme Court's "alice decision" is having a marked impact on software patents, NPEs and litigation  Alice corporation owned four patents for electronic methods and computer programs for financial-trading systems on which trades between two parties who are to exchange payment are settled by a third party in ways that reduce settlement risk.  (  CLS Bank International began to use similar technology in 2002 and Alice notified CLS of its likely infringement.  In 2007, CLS sued Alice seeking a declaratory judgement that Alice's patents were invalid.  The Court, DC District Court, declared each of Alice's four patents invalid because the clains concerned abstract ideas which are not eligible for patent protection.  The court followed Bilski v Kappos 2010 precedent.

Alice appealed and the US Appeals Court for the Federal District  reversed the lower court in 2012.  This year (2014) the Supreme Court reversed the Appeals Court, citing the patents were invalid because the claims were drawn to an abstract idea and implementing those claims on a computer was not enough to transform that idea to a patentable invention.  Hence, this assessment

Monday, October 20, 2014

To Incubate or not to Incubate

Marshall Goodman: Ex-administrator For USF Helping Collier County |

This answers the age-old questions: To Incubate or NOT to incubate?

A: Incubators definitely have advantages for cluster development and rapid business startup.

But, that doesn't assure that it is a great investment for that governments to jump into.

Where do old business incubator guys go when they get old?

A: They go to Collier County, of course. Think Naples and Big Cypress National Preserve.

Here's a longer version of the story by Maria Perez in the Maples Daily News (and

During that time about 2010, we were trying to meet with Goodman to springboard off of the wild success he was having with 3 incubators. No success, for us on a meeting. All three incubators were rumored to be full and hugely successful. In Highlands County, we were aiming to advance the inventions from USF that were better commercialized in the heartland of Florida, not the cities.

Well let's see how far $3.8M goes in Collier county. With an assurance of 10 to 15 companies within 6 months, how can they possibly go wrong?

Can't wait to see where this one goes.

Keywords: Business Incubator, Economic Development
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"By now, there should be no argument that intangible assets have become the key and irreversible underliers to success and profitability for most companies.  Remember, it is an economic fact that 80+% of a company's value and source of revenue evolve directly from intangible assets."  (Click to

This comes close to the end of the post as you see but it could very well be the lead in.  The situation at issue here, however, is the Business Plan and its "rigid structure and sequence."  In other words, how is a company to solve the conflict of adhering to its intellectual property based Business Plan when current events mandate change?  Global activity, predatory competition, government intervention, mergers and acquisitions and corporate alliances form a roiling terrain hostile to following a prescripted plan.  However, for most lending institutions, a well crefted Business Plan with a competent management team remain an essential.

It appears too much emphasis is placed on the "rigidity"/inflexibility" of the BP strategy and tactics- a condition at odds with the new normal of IP dominating the asset base.  When a product or service emerges from the R&D cycle with strong market potential and patent protection (pending), a thorough BP Strategy points to options sensitive to the market to be entered;  a) as a patent- protected product, b) a an asset to be licensed for royalties, c) as part of a technology transfer, d) some combination near term/long term of the options.

The onus is on the BP authors to complete a due diligence that includes market research, competitive analyses, business development strategic planning, product planning and a large measure of "what if" scenario planning.  The Plan should be done as close as possible to market entry with any of the options to maximize the revcenue potential and protect the IP.  This provides the flexibility needed with meeting the realities of the marketplace.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Intellectual Ventures: Patent Troll plans to Start actually making things, not breaking things.

Intellectual Ventures: Patent Troll Funds Startups, New Products - Businessweek:

The worlds largest patent troll, apparently, has decided to go legit. Kinda.

This company, aptly abbreviated IV as in a vampire draining blood, is the largest holder of patents with some 70,000. More than IBM with more than 20 years as the world's largest patenting company, by far.

With such a war chest of patents, it is hard for anyone to make anything that doesn't violate their patents. This is especially the case if you don't actually make anything, as a perfect troll would do.

So IV has been drawing blood for the economy on a rather endless basis. But, if you pay the blood money for a few of their patents, you get "protection" where nobody else can mess with you without having to fight the entire war chest of IV.

It seems like the perfect business model based on pirates and Somalian entrepreneurs.

So why break such a tried and proven business model?

I think on the tax returns, where you put our line of business, entering "Patent Troll" is likely no problem for the IRS. They will take the taxes on those profits just the same as for the companies that actually produced a product.

We have a few ideas why the patent troll would change his stripes, but we would like to hear what others have to offer?

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Assumptions in recent trademark studies slammed.  "How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create?"  Here is the link to a paper by Eli Dourado and Ian Robinson from George Mason University.

The challenge here is to a USPTO & Economics and Statistics Administration report, "IP and the US Economy: Industries in Focus" and the USCOC Global IP Center campaign called "IP Creates Jobs for America."  The authgors take issue with some of the claims about how powerful IP is in the US economy with respect to job creation and the inpact of infringement on revenue losses.

How many jobs does Intellectual Property create?  It is a complicated response- some are easy to indentify, others not so much.  In today's global economy,  IP is the only remaining competitive advantage.  It is the Safe Harbor if managed appropriately.  (That is, the owner has to be diligent in protecting it from infringement, piracy.)  That in itself, frequently means new jobs that do not create new output, but protects what exists.

As to jobs created by IP, the authors suppositions and examples tend to reinforce the the assumption that they are academics who never worked in private industry.  Jobs, as they say, are not ends in themselves, but, how is that relevant?  Jobs are created to meet defined needs in many areas of an enterprise.  A janitor's job would rarely be associated with IP but an electrical engineer hired into Bell Labs would be expected to have some involvement with IP in his/her career.  Which, or both, is the IP counted job?

IP, be it a utility or design, trademark or an instruction set for a new dance, is a result not a precurser.  Are those associated jobs counted as IP or is it 'when' they are counted?  Most jobs are filled based on need and relevant skill sets.  The newly hired patent attorney is an immediate count.  The new IP data base manager and the new retail store phone salesman who just handled a defective product?

The authors state that "it is fallacious to equate employment within an IP intensive industry with an economic benefit of IP."  Huh?  Why then does IBM get more patents every year than any other enterprise and how do they annually gain nearly a billion dollars in royalty revenues?

To summarize, IP is the only Safe Harbor left and it would be irresponsible of leadership not to protect it by any and all means.  And, dealing with infringement to recoup some lost revenue is a valid cause for job creation that does not result in economic gain but minimizes loss.  The authors should claim valid skepticism  in job numbers based upon what appears to be oversimplifying assumptions.  Rather than levy criticism at the results, it would have been far more meaningful to scrutinize the assumptions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Building a Business Plan: The basic components video, and IP too.

Building a Business Plan: The basic components - YouTube: "

Here's the basics about a business plan by yours truly, Dr. Elmer Hall, President of

Strategic Business Planning Company. We help develop the plans that every business needs(tm).

A business plan helps to plan out the future of the business and estimate its profitability. Also, as the company grows quickly it may outgrow itself. That is, you can fund the growth with profits, but if you exceed that rate then outside funding will be needed. Look at the sustainable growth rate model in finance.

This is the basics of a business plan, but we modify a basic business plan to accommodate Intellectual Property protection (read, sustainable competitive advantage). As you watch Shark Tank to see how venture capitalist think, you will see how seriously important intellectual property is to the success of a business -- and the likelihood of a shark investor taking a BIG bite of the action.

A business plan would likely include these component, as shown in the video, and then have some modification to show the (potential) strength of the IP. We call this IP-centric plan a Patent Business Plan., or for larger companies an IPplan.

Look at the Patent Primer to get an idea of the various aspects of IP and how to build a strong patent competitive advantage.

As it pertains to environmental sustainability -- triple bottom-line planning -- look at discussions over at The plan here would be a specialized business plan we call a Sustainability Plan. This would be a business plan that also maps out moving to full zero foot print over time: say 5, 10, 20 years, depending on the business/industry.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Software Patents, soft patents, Hard Litigations

This article from the Institute for Policy Innovation comments on yet another issue in the turmoil of today's IP landscape- one that resembles a war zone.  Because software has become such a vital part of today's tech and semi-tech products and services, it makes sense to provide some real protection for the originators if the invention is unprecedented and provides value.  The flood of software patents has opened Pandora's box however and the box is in a coutroom.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Intellectual Property Counterfeiting- more than an Ownership Problem

IP counterfeiting doesn't get alot of press these days and hasn't for decades, but, this article definitely needs reading.  Here is the link:IP Counterfeiting

Yet another in a growing list of situations in which crime appears to pay- or, it is clearly worth the risks involved.
IP owners have another aspect of commercialization that must be continually addressed on a corporate level.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Control of IP on Business Side of Corporation

There's a key point in this IAM magazine article by Joff Wild in the July 9, 2014, issue.  Note that the Chief IP Officer is not an attorney- he a business professional.  This is a significant change, a recognition that commercialization of Intellectual Property in a marketed product, a Patent Licensing Agreement with Royalties, a technology transfer or an outright patent sale is a business decision, not a legal one.  In some companies going back nearly 50 years, (AT&T, IBM, DuPont, Xerox to name a few) the decisions on IP were made by the business side.  But, for most, it has only been since the late 1980s that brought the marked change from predominantly physical assets in a corporation to intellectual assets that has prompted more and more corporations to view IP as a key revenue generator that has a place in the strategic plan.  The business development organization would be an appropriate place for decisions on IP revenue generation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Intellectual Property is going to POT (Marijuana, that is) - Bloomberg

Marijuana, Motorola, Moroccanoil: Intellectual Property - Bloomberg:

You have to laugh about the ideas being plant patents on Marijuana. But this is serious business.

First, if you come up with a new strain of a plant, you can apply for a "Plant Patent". If the patent is issued, you can use DNA testing to determine if/when someone else is infringing on your patent. Monsanto is the king (or Redwood) of plant patents.

HOWEVER, it is not possible to patent something that is illegal. The USPTO will say "offensive to public morality" (USPTO.)

So now, you as a happy pot grower have the dilemma. You would like to get ahead of the competition. You would like to get your strain of Mary Jane out there, protected by patent, but you can't because it is an illegal product. Of course, you could move to a state where it is legal. Then presumably you would be able to legally grow it, legally sell it, and legally patent it. You would, of course, want to trademark the name, and copyright the slogan and the official description.

No wait, come out of the smoke-filled fog and clear your slow and soggy head!... Marijuana is still illegal Federally, as in the good olde US of A. That's were the USPTO lives and all patents are federal. Hmmm...

All in all, the intellectual property could be quite valuable. And Monsanto and Altria will probably leave you alone for years; the market's too small and the legal risks are too big.

Now you are wondering, prior to the allowance of IP into the pot market, how did you protect your strain. Once the buds left the dealer's hands there was no way to corner the market. Any common criminal who didn't want to smoke it today, could sow the seeds of happiness, indefinitely into the uncertain future.

I can't wait to see the patent applications over the next few years as marijuana continues it rapid path down the rabbit hole of decriminalization. An Alice in Wonderland adventure awaits.
KEY: Patents, plant patents, USPTO, Illegal, Crime, Monsanto
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Monday, July 7, 2014

The Refractive Thinker Brain Teaser Game App by Dr. Cheryl Lentz — Kickstarter

The Refractive Thinker Brain Teaser Game App by Dr. Cheryl Lentz — Kickstarter

Interesting game idea. Having fun while you learn...

Or just having fun, that can be okay too!:-)

I think it would be cool to create RT Teasers for each volume of the Refractive thinker books. (maybe starting with the next one). I could see Profs using it with articles and books that students were (supposed) to read. Have a little fun with it. This isn't really a question, just a comment.

I hope this project makes the goal, 'cause I can't wait to see it.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

copyrights win, kindof. Aereo gets hammered pirating broadcast content, kindof

Justices Rule Aereo Violates Broadcasters' Copyrights
Interesting ruling today. Kind of reminds you of the old NAPSTER daze when pirating muzak was king, and paying for music was passe.
This is interesting. So you can not necessarily pay someone to put up rabbit ears for you, and steam you the air broadcast shows. The commercials would still be in the live shows, right. So the only difference is that you got someone else to record it for you, and give you the playback options. The BIG winners are the cable guys, who already have a local monopoly, and only partially kept honest by the satellite duopopoly. See what CEO Chet Kanojia had to say about the ruling.
Watch as the major content providers jumped in trading today, based on this ruling.
I wonder if this move against smaller and innovative options will not stop the anti-trust rulings associated with the AT&T and DirecTV merger?
This might shift people to totally pirated options where they don't pay anything (except the price of adware and viruses).
Note that the ruling tried to  be very focused and narrow as it pertains to "cloud computing". Not knowing where the clouds might go, the judges didn't want to get too far out in front of the foggy future of innovation.
Napster got shut down from their music-sharing and went out of business, but the piracy of muzak -- as Celion will chant to you -- goes on, and on.

The opinion of the court is here: 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Printeer - a 3D printer for kids & schools by Mission Street Manufacturing — Kickstarter

Printeer - a 3D printer for kids & schools by Mission Street Manufacturing — Kickstarter:

Educational version of a 3D printer. For the change in your pocket (provided you have $600 in your pocket).

I like this quote: "We believe that kids are the most creative people on the planet."

The iPad app is used to design the 3D object and then print on the 3D printer. The printer is totally clear so you can see the whole printing process.

I love it. I want one for me. Heck with the kids... The kids can go buy themselves one.

Cool funding project on KickStarter. Already twice the $50k goal.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

WSJ. Eveything that can be invented, has been.

Economists Debate Whether Technology Will Save the World. WSJ article.
It's true. Everything that could be invented, has been. Right?
Well, there's the 11 inventions posted last week. And there is 3d printing, all the applications of nanotechnology...
I'm anxious to see what happens with the death of the computer chip, as we hit the limits of silicon... The next generation of computing should be very interesting. With that type of power at your fingertips, the nature of computing as we know it will change?


There are all the applications of sustainability, moving most of us, if not all of us, to a zero footprint world.

One thing that is interesting is the ability to actually apply the masses of knowledge that has been accumulated, but not integrated and applied over time. The best application of the best technology, as and when needed...

Possibilities are endless, literally.

Friday, June 13, 2014

BioLite BaseCamp Stove | Turn Fire into Electricity by BioLite — Kickstarter

BioLite BaseCamp Stove | Turn Fire into Electricity by BioLite — Kickstarter:

I love it. But only 62 hours to get in on the KickStarter offer. They are at twice goal with $800k+ and 3,000 backers.

Yes, it was DARK in Miami, when Hurricane Andrew came through South Miami/Homestead on August 24, 1992. Well, afterwards really. It would be weeks before most of us would get power. So bar-b-q grilling was the norm. That was not quite as much fun after a week or two without baths and without air conditioning. Little or no ice and warm drinks. Muggy and humid.

You did want to cook, obviously, but all the heat from the grill was the last thing we needed.

But a really cool cooking stove popped up in New York. A tiny stove the burned wood (or charcoal) and produced focused head for cooking. No need to cook the cook too.

This technology works wonders in countries where there is little or no electricity, and wood is often scarce, and the smoke from open cooking causes some of the world's worst health issues (probably only exceeded by water/sanitation).

You gotta see how far the technology has come. This is a BIG stove, relatively, that generates electricity (USB power) and has battery. It has an internal fan, to fan the fire so it can produce some serious heat possibilities -- especially given the ability to focus the flame.

This version comes with an LED light so you can see what's cooking at night.

As they say, this is the first version of the BaseCamp that is crowd designed. When you jump in on the crowd funding at KickStarter (BaseCamp) you will get a free carrying case.

You also get the warm-fuzzy feeling of knowing that this technology will save millions and millions of lives in energy starved countries.

All very very cool.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, genius of crowds, kickstarter, invention, sustainability, renewable energy, health,
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11 Inventions that wil, change the future....

11 disruptive technologies that could/should change the future.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Strong Copyright Law supports journalism and more

This is a great editorial by Caroline Little (June 8, 2014) on the value of good journalism and the part that IP law plays in supporting good journalism:
TBO: news-opinion-commentary/strong-copyright-law-supports-journalism-and-informs-communities
We totally agree.
The parallel problem is with pirating, knock off, and just plain duplication. It Is hard to make money on something, when most of the copies sold are illegal sourced or counterfeit.
The additional problem, now, is that everyone has a license to write, the solo publisher and the blog journalist.
There needs to be protection for the people who do the real work and the real research.
There also needs to be accountability for everybody, those who generate content and those who perpetuate it.
Ideally, there needs to be ways to "call out" those who would borrow and steal the works of others.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The belief that our patent system is broken is patently false | ... Broken as designed?

The belief that our patent system is broken is patently false (guest column) | Detroit Free Press |

This is a very interesting article by David Kappos (IP attorney and director of the USPTO). Intellectual Property, especially patents, is a critical foundation of the US economy and of our entrepreneurial proficiency.

But we shouldn't take it for granted.

That's why some of the IP, Hi-Tech companies have joined together into an American alliance of innovation: Partnership for American Innovation

Companies need to take advantage of IP and use it aggressively both domestically and abroad. Especially if we are in the US where we do have strong rule of (IP) law. We must avoid allowing countries with lax IP laws to overrun us on our own strengths, our strengths to innovate.

We need to aim for Perpetual Innovation(tm). Hall & Hinkelman talk about Perpetual Innovation(tm) in their 2013 book on Patent Commercialization argue that many companies are broken-as-designed. They are not designed around managing their intellectual assets; they still operate as if most of their assets and most of their value comes from physical assets.

The US Patent system may not be broken, but many companies are. And IP is a critical part of all innovation and the pipeline of new products.

Hall, E. B. & Hinkelman, R. M. (2013). Perpetual Innovation™: A guide to strategic planning,
patent commercialization and enduring competitive advantage, Version 2.0
Morrisville, NC: LuLu Press. Retrieved from:
Hall, E. B. & Hinkelman, R. M. (2013). Perpetual Innovation™: Patent primer 2.0:
Patents, the great equalizer of our time! An overview of intellectual property
with patenting cost estimates for inventors and entrepreneurs.
  Morrisville, NC: LuLu Press. Retrieved from:
(or Kindle at

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt - (repost from

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt -


Studies published in the journals Science (here) and Geophysical Research Letters  (here) magazine find that the antarctic is melting, probably at a very very fast pace. The terms "beyond the point of no return" and "unstoppable" are used to describe the collapse of this glacial area in Antarctica. How long it will take is harder to predict.

This really scares the bejeebers  out of everyone. Let me summarize a few reasons why this is bothersome:
* It seems that arctic (north) should be shrinking a little and the antarctic (south) should be expanding if there were no human factors influencing such. So the shrinking/melt-off in the south would/should have to overcome this tilting effect of the earth, and then some. (This "effect" is something for people far smarter than I to explain.)
* The north pole is now becoming more navigable, longer in the summer as the ice sheets melt off. China, for example is planning to navigate through a north passage for 3 months a year and avoid bringing oil from Russia through the Suez Canal, essentially cutting the trip in half (and maybe making twice 6-months worth of oil runs.
* The melt off in the north pole is not as worrisome in terms of direct ocean level rise because much of the ice is over water, so the conversion from ice in the north pole to water is not a big deal related to ocean rise (although the resulting warming of the oceans from more heat absorption and less glacial reflection definitely is).
* The antarctic is mostly over land. The melting of the Antarctic glaciers results directly into a rise in the sea levels.
* Combine that with apparent acceleration effect, as the glaciers melt, they move faster and faster, accelerating the depletion process.
* Thermal expansion. As ocean and land become exposed by the melting ice sheets, the ocean, land and air all become warmer. In the case of the oceans, water expands. If the average dept of the oceans are 2 miles, the oceans levels should rise at about 2 feet for every increase in (water) temperature of 1 degree Centigrade.

At this rate, the best case by the IPCC of 2 degrees C increase in global warming has got to be very unlikely. The worst case scenarios of business as usual (BAU) of 3 to 4 degrees or more seem to be the most likely... The 4 degree increase would result in about 9 feet (or 3 yards) increase in sea levels.

That means that by the end of the century, water-front cities will have new waterfront. Venus and New York will be new shapes and sizes. The Florida Keys will be less than half their current size.

Some of us would argue that Business as Usual is not working so well, especially if you care much about your grand kids and great grand kids.

Keywords: Antarctica, Arctic, business as usual, glaciers, Global Warming, IPCC, North Pole, sea levels, thermal expansion,

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

These Aren’t The Patent Trolls You’re Looking For | TechCrunch

These Aren’t The Patent Trolls You’re Looking For | TechCrunch:

Wow this is a great analysis/discussion of Patent Trolls.

This is a great discussion of the companies that exercise their IP rights and ways in which they do so. IBM invents a lot (patents) but doesn't directly utilize most of their inventions directly. Plus, even if they do, they often have peripheral uses of the technology where licensing out is a great way to commercialize.

As we often tell clients, you can license key technologies -- especially exclusive licensing for your product -- to control the market.  You don't actually have to invent it.

Kravets does not necessarily propose mechanisms to address "ethical" commercialization from the "unethical" patent trolls.

Maybe that is his next article?

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Courthouse News: Marvell at this. $1.17B x 3 is almost Comic!

Courthouse News Service:

A chip maker, Marvel Technology Group, just lost a $1.17B law suit for stealing the technology of Carnegie Mellon University.

One has to marvel at this company's antics, a company that trades by the symbol MRVL, and should in no way be confused with the comic company, although its antics carry both intrigue and humor.

You might call them the Chip Pirates of the Caribbean given their off-short headquarters in Bermuda. Their not chip makers, they are chip takers. [Insert poker chip puns here.]

The settlement as to the $1.17B law suit is still to be determine. Because of the willful and continued infringement, MRVL is subject to treble damages of $3.51B. (Half of the current market cap.) Plus they now are required to license the technology that they "borrowed" for so many years at a whopping $.50 per $2 chip sold which will chip away at the profits. The royalty payments are probably 25% of the company's profits.

I like that MRVL's own chips -- in infringed chips -- were the but of jokes internally. Because you wouldn't want to use them in any electronic devise, the next best use for them is as "coffee warmers"!:-)

Even though there have been penalties and sanctions by the SEC, these rouge execs are still in power and still making big salaries.

However, shareholders have taken up a class law suit against the execs Satardja and Dai, attesting: "damages for breach of fiduciary duty, failure to maintain adequate controls, and unjust enrichment and breach of duty of honest services"

This is the story line from crime-fighting comic books. One has to marvel at it!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

PWC, What you get when there's too much Booz in the baby naming process.

I fear that PWC was boozing it up a little too much when the rebranded their subsidiary to be now called: "Strategy &".  And what, you ask?

Booz & Co is a buyout subsidiary of Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), the large accounting/consulting firm. It seems only right that the division with the boozy name should be revamped as something else, Right? But, in a drunken stupor, they couldn't really come up with what the division will do.

Actually this kind of a trick appears like an emerging pattern for PWC when they have an asset (division) that they are planning to sell or spin off. In this case the buyer of Booz & Co and determine what the "and" is themselves.

If they were going to use some strange code name for the spin-off target, they could have used something like April First, or Monday. Oops, no can't use Monday, already did that.

Check out the story here: 
Or here: WSJ article

The STEM shortage: Crisis or myth? | Spring 2014

The STEM shortage: Crisis or myth? | Spring 2014:

Wow, give a look at this on STEM jobs and education. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education).

So how do we (u.s.a) stem the STEM shortage?

This is an interesting article about the STEM PIPELINE that has a lot of leaking

This is an original article in UoP's Faculty Matters magazine.

Keywords: school, university, training, innovation,  STEM, jobs, economic development,
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

IBM Seeks Patent on Software that Incorporates Human Emotion

IBM Seeks Patent on Software that Incorporates Human Emotion - | Patents & Patent Law:

IBM patents emotions. How does that make your feel? Sad? Mad? Glad?

Well, let's not get emotional about this.

But it seems that our friends at IBM, the patent King, has a rather cleaver line on patents. IBM is making efforts to emulate the types of things done by the human emotions. Multiple channels, multiple inputs.

One would assume the same illogical and irrational things that make humans so unique and yet so imperfect. Right.

Steve Brachmann does a nice job of tying in other patent technologies related to communications and information processing that are in the same space.

I like the comment: "It looks like more than a full time job for IBM just keeping track of who is potentially infringing their patents."

True that. But having 10 patents issued per day give IBM a whole lot of leeway if someone comes after IBM.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Kickstarter CEO: 'Veronica Mars' proves 'the power of audiences' | Inside Movies |

Kickstarter CEO: 'Veronica Mars' proves 'the power of audiences' | Inside Movies |

When you go to watch Veronica Mars, if you haven't already done so...

Think about this. It has been the greatest success for any movie launched by crowd funding!

Capitalism at work by the masses. Very cool.

They blasted through the goal of $2M and raised $5.7M from 91,000+ backers.

Here is the YouTube Video teaser that they used to raise the money and to recruit MARShmellows to jump into the backer frenzy.

Right now I can watch it on Xfinity for only $17.99.

Gotta love it.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pfizer says U.S. court invalidates Celebrex patent; generics loom -- Reuters

Pfizer -- U.S. court invalidates Celebrex patent; generics loom | Reuters:


Knocking the block of of the buster.

Pfizer is taking a big hit with this court ruling against Celebrex patent. Surprisingly, the stock price, not so much so. Almost not even a jitter as it stays around $32 per share.

That's $3B in annual sales with $2B in the US (relevant to the US court ruling, obviously).

IF the company repeats its $51B in sales from last year (revenues have been dropping over the last 3 years) then that represents about 4% to 6% of the companies sales. But it has to represent a huge hit to the bottom line, let's say 8% to 15%. (It doesn't take much to milk the cash cows; it does however, take a lot of money to invent the cow, clone it, raise the herd to maturity, and then milk each cow for all she's got for about 20 years.)

It look like the patent would have expired in 2015 anyway, so there would be generics already sitting on the sidelines (or the storefront in other countries).

This must have been totally expected. It is hard to imaging a $204B company (based on market cap) that doesn't take a serious tumble when one of its blockbuster products takes a hit.

It is blockbuster patents in Big Pharma going off patent like this that contribute to the slowing of Healthcare spending. That's right. Healthcare spending has only been increasing at about 4% over the last couple years. A big part of that is the patent cliff for big pharma drugs.

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Rita Gunther McGrath on the End of Competitive Advantage

Rita Gunther McGrath on the End of Competitive Advantage:

Great insight on competitive advantage, flexibility, and innovation.

Article, but a nice video of Rita as well.

McGrath’s most recent book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pono - HiRes Music - Kickstarter 250% funded - Muzak will never be the same!

Pono Music - Where Your Soul Rediscovers Music by the PonoMusic Team — Kickstarter:

Pono Music... a project funded at Kickstarter

High resolution music in a world that has gone Digital!

Finally, I can put those olde (analog) records back on the shelf!

This campaign is set to roll over $2M in fund raising today. !Oops, took too long to blog! It is already over $2M! Original goal was only $800k. It is headed by Neil Young but has lots and lots of celec muzak backers. Two more added since I took too long to write this (James Taylor autographed player).

If you like this idea, jump on board. You can get a Pono muzak player for $300 this way with 128GB of storage. That actually is less than 1,000 tracks if you store them at the highest resolution. Of course, nobody has music at that high resolution... 

Pono will work with any artist or music company to get the highest resolution available (from masters) for the site. They won't stream initially in part because the size of the stream. Compression gets us the muZak we have today for our MP3 players -- maybe good, but definitely not great.

So, for 300 bucks or so, you to can sponsor this event, and the music site and the player devise. You will get a Pono player free for your sponsorship... well, $99 off of a $399 player. It should play any music, and the high resolution music you can put on it (now, really from, once the project is launched). Since the project is 200% funded, one can assume that it will launch. The plan is to build by this summer everything if the money came through from pre-sales and such on Kickstarter. Then all of the sponsors could expect their memorabilia and Pono players soon thereafter, say August.

The IP behind the player.I'm asking the question at Kickstarter about the IP behind the player. But, one of the key components of their IP is a patent by none other than Neil Young, himself. 

Patent Application: PCT/US2012/038099
Title: Multiple-resolution audio and video systems, methods of production, delivery and uses thereof
Priority date: Jan 20, 2009.

It will be interesting to see if it issues?

It will also be interesting to see if they go for a more open architecture like MP3 or proprietary approach.?

Kids, who have been listening to bad (quality) muzak all their lives, will never be the same.:-)

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Florida Business Incubation Association: Florida Incubators

Florida Business Incubation Association:

Business incubators are so very cool. Generally they bring together all the components a business will need to get started or to expand. This usually includes funding sources. But as important are the key services that every organization needs. Business advice (often tied in to the SBA's Small Business Development Centers -- SBDC)... Accounting, IT, Intellectual Property protection (patents, TM, C,...), secretarial services, etc. Lots of marking help are critical, web site, search engine optimization and more...  See the SBDC for Florida.

Frequently incubators are tied in to the science departments of universities so the inventions of the academic world can be transported into the business world.

An entrepreneur (or two) can't do everything within the startup business. The incubator helps coach them into giving up some of the jobs at the company so that they can focus on one (or two).

Often there are reduced costs for incubatees who are accepted into an incubator...

There always is a graduation process for the incubatee as he/she grows up to be an adult company!:-)

Incubators often have internal and external networks to help engage veterans and peers in their efforts.

Here's the place to go for Business Incubator info -- National Business Incubator Association:
* Find your incubator here based on region and or type of incubator.

Check out the incubators in your area:
* Florida ... or Florida Business Incubator Association...
* Georgia
* California

Business incubators are some times called accelerators, since they accelerate the process of a business moving forward.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites For Fundraising - Forbes

Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites For Fundraising - Forbes:

So you wanna get funding?

The first and fastest way, always, is to go to friends and family. They know you after all, and in spite of that, they may -- just may -- be willing and able to invest.

The next best way is to look around the channels of distribution for your product. They are the companies that will understand and appreciate your product/service fastest. Plus they might be able to profit from your addition/expansion in the market. Of course, they may also be in a position to cut you out of the idea entirely... This one of the many reasons for having strong IP (patent) protection.

Loans from your friendly neighborhood bank might be possible, but usually they require a personal guarantee (of the house and kids), sooooo if you could get a second loan (HLOC) on the house, that would typically be the direct way to fund.

Credit cards! Not so good an idea, maybe for some working capital.

If all these fail, you might move on to crowd funding... Or even is some of the other funding approaches works... Crowd funding usually brings with it a degree of advertising and promotion of your concept. That's good and bad. Now people know about your idea so they can consider investing. But now people know about your idea, so they can steal your idea, maybe. This one of the many reasons for having strong IP (patent) protection. But, I repeat myself, repeatedly.

Either way, when you go to the crowds, you will definitely get feedback on your idea and how investable it may be.

So, check out this cool article from Forbes and see what you think about going to the crowds (in the clouds) for (some) funding!?

Here is a quick summary of the various ways to fund a business and funding methods/types.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Phosphate World and Patent World. Sir John Bennet Lawes, Father of Fertilizer!

Check out the post at our sister blog Phosphate World.

This blog talks about the phosphate industry in Florida and the nice resort being built out of the rubble of past Phosphate mines over in the Tampa Bay area. That actually is pretty cool, but the point that phosphate fertilizer from mines is non-sustainable, and consequently is a broken business model. Peak Phosphate in the world could arrive by 2030.

Innovation in preserving and recycling phosphate is critical. More sustainable uses of fertilizer is essential and a responsible way forward.

But this blog looks at one of the key patents and technological breakthroughs that built the phosphate industry -- and consequently, modern farming as we know it.

Sir John Bennet Lawes is credited as the father of artificial fertilizer. He developed what is referred to as the superphospate fertilizer.... (Many politicians can make such a super fertilizer, only without the patented processes.)

The inherited owner of the Rothamsted Manor in England, John Bennet Lawes, is credited with inventing the process for extracting useful phosphate from phosphate rock using sulfuric acid. In 1842 he obtained a patent on the process. (This must be only a UK patent since it seems hard to find in the USPTO.)

Britannica had this to say about Sir John.
"Lawes inherited his father’s estate, Rothamsted, in 1822. In 1842, after long experimentation with the effects of manures on potted plants and field crops on his estate, he patented a process for treating phosphate rock with sulfuric acid to produce superphosphate. That year he opened the first fertilizer factory, thus initiating the artificial fertilizer industry. The following year, the chemist J.H. (later Sir Henry) Gilbert joined him, and they began a collaboration lasting more than a half century; Lawes considered 1843 the year of the station’s foundation. Together, the pair studied the effects of different fertilizers on crops. They also researched animal nutrition, including the value of different fodders and the sources of animal fat."

There are several patents/applications within the last few years related to phosphate (fertilizer). Check out this one, first filed in China, related to extracting phosphate from low-grade rock using a microbial strain.

And, of course, virtually all GMO seeds/plants are patented -- Monsanto, Dupont, a university, etc. 

Here's a longer look at Sir John's life history from Oxford's DB.  The Rothamsted Research center is still active today, including GMO research.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Google to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91B - FierceWireless

Google to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91B - FierceWireless:

This is a pretty good take on the strategic transaction that Google has entered into with Lenovo.

The headlines will be very misleading related to the Motorola Wireless deal that Google just made for selling the handset division (hardware) to Lenovo. People will look at the almost $12.4B deal where Google bought some 17,000 and the Motorola wireless division that comes with it in May of 2012. and say that Google gooped up on this transaction. (Somewhat reminiscent of the Skype deals where Microsoft ended up with the technology at a small price compared to what eBay paid a few years earlier.)

This is a very smart deal by Google. Google is apparently keeping all of the software patents. The licensing (cross-licensing) agreements will probably give Google freedom to do whatever they want in the space. It takes them out of the hardware business, which made handset makers nervous (as an unfair competition with the bundle of handsets with Android OS).

When Google bought Motorola Mobility as a defensive maneuver. The problem is that Google's "free" operating system and products tromp on thousands and thousands of patents (and copyrights). So they needed the patent portfolio to fight the patent war in computing and mobility. (Just as Microsoft needed the AOL patents.) Steve Jobs and Apple have been very irritated with Google giving away (their) technology; but it is a little more complicated to sue and make money from a product being sold for $0.00 per unit.

Even though Google gives many of its products way for "free", it does make quite a lot of money, primarily from advertising. About 70% of Google's stock value is attributable to its advertising (about half PC and half mobile). Google now is at a market cap of $380B bringing it up quickly onto size of the two largest market cap companies in the world Apple ($450B) and ExxonMobil ($411B) as of Jan 30 2014.

So now Google has the patent protection they had to have, and they have sold it too. Beautiful. Now they can move into the offensive position in the patent wars. This is a game of Risk, but with multiple dimensions like 3-level chess. There is what you see above the board, but what is below the board -- where the patent portfolios live -- is where the armies are being amassed.

Make no doubt, small players will be crushed. Blackberry and maybe even Nokia will likely be completely isolated. Orphaned.

This will give Samsung a little competition. Samsung dominates the cell phone market, especially among android phones. See add to Samsung Worries. Google can not afford to allow Samsung to get too big and too strong.

From Googles perspective, this is a work of motion art. Beautiful.

Other players, say Apple, may not appreciate the beauty of it so much.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Energy Roadmap - The Edison of our Age: Stan Ovshinsky ... Who killed the Electric Car?... a who dun it of history.

Ovshinsky is compared to Edison as a prolific inventor... He hold patents on NiMH batteries. His solar cells power the MIR space station.

Good question on Cobasys and the restrictions on next-gen batteries by the patents held within the company.!:-) The batteries that have become so critical in the next generation of batteries, electric cars, etc. are subject to patents by Ovshinsky (and the Cobasys company).

Cobasys is a 50/50 joint venture with Chevron/Texico and Ovonics. Ovonics has the Stan Ovshinsky inventions and GM now has a big ownership stake in that company.

So let's see, a BIG oil and a BIG auto have a BIG stake in the very batteries that make an electric car viable.

Look at "Patent encumbrances" at Wikipedia. The discussion on "Who Killed the Electric Car?" seem far truer than I ever imagined. This whole topic requires a lot more reading. But before picking up the thread again, I want to watch the movie.

Anybody out there have big ideas (substantiated by facts, I hope) on the issue.

Keywords: electric car, EV, oil, auto, battery, patent, patent encumbrances, inventor, Ovshinsky 

See similar blog over in

Thursday, January 23, 2014

References Cited Per Patent are up 250% in 10 years | Patently-O

References Cited Per Patent | Patently-O:

This is interesting how the number of issued patents cited have gone up from about 20 total patents references to about 50.  Over the last 10 years! WOW.

The additional references from the examiner appears to be consistent at about 5 to 7; but as the comments indicate, some of those may already have already been mentioned in some form by the applicant.

That is a 250% increase in the number of patents being mention in a patent application.

Reasons are definitely up for debate!


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Friday, January 17, 2014

Secrecy cloaks patents on inventions in Canada: NSA for IP

Secrecy cloaks patents on inventions hidden far from public eye by Industry Canada:

So in Canada you can have your patent applications totally shielded from all view/publication. And, we presume, against your will and better judgement. But only for National Security.

One would assume, that you will have lots of problems, then, if you were to consider bringing it to market commercially (non-military).

And, here in the US of A, we are grappling with how best to spy on our citizens. (President Obama's news conference today. See here on News conference.

Patent applications are the agreement between government and inventor to arrange and organized disclosure of inventions and grant monopoly power over that invention for up to 20 years. US patent law &

Public disclosure is a key word here.

This is kind of interesting: secret patents. Canada must be taking its lead from the NSA!:-(

Don't you love it.?!

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