Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Long-term good for R&D, Patents and Profits

A recent study shows how long-term focus pays off. This study concentrated on switching the CEO compensation to longer-term. From that point forward, what happened, on average to several things related to the performance over time.

Great study was by Flammer and Bansal (2016) and summarized in the WSJ, CEOs should focus on the long term, a study says. Although the study is coming out soon in the Strategic Management Journal, you can find it here.

The researchers selected companies that were long-term focused based on those companies that had a long-term compensation package presented to the board that was narrowly approved. The narrowly approved implies that this was a bit of a surprise to the executives resulting, potentially, in a paradigm shift toward longer-term focus. The board voting was reviewed from 2005 through 2012 so that there would be room for performance analysis.

There are many positives related to long-term focus all around. Companies with a long-term focus do better all around (profits, net profit margin, sales, stock price, etc.). Those long-term focus had a statistically significant improvement over the longer term (2 years and longer). Interestingly, they had a small dip insignificant dip in the short term.

Longer term companies spend more money on R&D, got more patents, had more patents that "flopped" and had more patents that were "hits". Flops and hits were based on the citations of their issued patents. Lots of citations means hit, not very many means flop. That has issues, but seems acceptable (unless you want to do a market analysis of the patented technologies).
They also did a analysis of exploratory vs. exploitive. This was based on 80% vs 20% of the patents citations being internal to the company. So if lots of citations in my current patent refer to my own prior technology then it is a incremental, exploitive patent. They used a log scale on the number of patents, so a 0.568 correlation could be extrapolated on a logarithmic scale! A 57% correlation meaning that the decision to go long-term-centric resulted in a 57% positive change in the patents. Because they argue a cause-and-effect, they are an argument for causal correlation.

Hits and flops of patents is interesting. First, the patent needs to be more disruptive (exploratory) and new to the company. Then the number of references to the patent were reviewed to see if it gets an abnormal amount of citation activity citing it. Flops would be exploratory that get very low citations. They first combined both hits and flops and indicate that total as a share of all (exploratory?) patents. This is statistically correlated at R-squared of 0.571. Trying a lot results in lots of failures and hits.
Note that the number of flops and the number of hits were statistically correlated: 0.457 and 0.427. This is very interesting, if you aren't trying, then you aren't innovating. In this case, long-term focus means that you are trying and getting a good splattering of both. (They use the methodology here of Azoulay et al., 2011)

Verdict. Boards should focus on long-term for compensation. This means that they have to be willing to take lesser profits in the short term.

There are also very strong correlations to the KLD factors, collectively and all four components: employees, environment, consumers and society.
Verdict. Corporations should focus on sustainable, long-term targets for goals and for compensation.

They have some limitations to this study, but they also combine it with good literature support for long-term-centric management practices. And minimizing the principle-agent problem common to executive compensation.
We want everyone highly motivated by the long-term, sustainable success of businesses (& not-for-profits & Gov)...
Anything else is, well, short-sighted!

Azoulay P, Graff Zivin JS, Manso G (2011). Incentives and creativity: evidence from the academic life sciences. RAND Journal of Economics 42(3): 527–554.
Flammer, C., & Bansal, P. (2016). Does a long-term orientation create value? Evidence from a regression discontinuity. Strategic Management Journal. doi:10.1002/smj.2629

Monday, December 5, 2016

Prize of $24M to 12 scientists WSJ

Breakthrough Prize awards $24 million to 12 scientific researchers.

This is in the WSJ article ...  via @WSJ ... By  GEORGIA WELLS  
Updated Dec. 4, 2016 8:11 p.m. ET

Categories from Genetics to Black holes. Big players from FB to Alphabet/GOOG were on site to promote these awards and recognition. 

Very cool.

It is unclear if these prizes are attached to business engines or incubators. However, with that level of notoriety, and the prize money, these winners should be able to move forward with inventions that hold promise of commercialization.

Congrats to all winners.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

China’s Patent-Lawsuit Profile Grows - Troll Tolls Too - WSJ

China’s Patent-Lawsuit Profile Grows - WSJ:

China as a focal point of Intellectual Property, in the patent office and in the courts.

This law suit by WiLAN is interesting to see how the "assertion" of patents can move and shift.

Here's a little background on WiLAN from Wikipedia.

As you can see the company originally developed stuff so it would not be categorized as a Non-Practicing Entity (NPE), or Patent Troll in the ungracious term that is sometimes more appropriate for NPEs. WiLAN seems to be moving more steadily into the troll category.

Now with a war chest of some 3,000 patents+pendings, WiLAN is a strong international force.

In 2013 Daniel Fisher describes the Texas case where WiLAN had its core patents to the suit invalidated in "how to bag a patent troll". The stock (on the Toronto exchange) fell 33% to $3.25. In 2014, Apple won again in California.

Apple has won several law suits against WiLAN including a 2016 verdict. Look at the 6mo & 10yr stock chart on Yahoo, where it dropped from $3.40 to $2.30 in a few days at the end of July 2016. It now trades at $1.80.

The Investor profile is not so good, even with the Samsung licensing deal last year.

WiLAN continues to build its patent portfolio.

One of the things that a Patent Troll never wants to do, is actually go to court. Patents can be invalidated, remedies can be diminished, and the golden goose can give up the ghost.

Gotta love the trading symbol that starts with WIN (

There are several things that WiLAN could do to make it a much more legitimate player, and less of a troll. But those involve capital investments in R&D to invent, manufacturing to produce, sales and marketing to sell. That's a different business model. As long as investors are happy with investing in trolls, the trolls will rein supreme within their little serfdom of bridges.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Toll of the Patent Troll

The Wall Street Journal has a great article about Patent Trolls and the Toll the cost on an innocent economy. Here's the excellent WSJ Article: America’s Biggest Filer of Patent Suits Wants You to Know It Invented Shipping Notification, By RUTH SIMON and  LORETTA CHAO, Updated Oct. 27, 2016 1:11 p.m. ET.
Small(er) companies are targeted by a non-practicing entity (NPE), sometimes ungraciously referred to as a Patent Troll. IPZine previously discussed Patent Trolls in their various forms. Efforts to kill the trolls, or at least send them back under the bridge have moved forward with mixed success. In the US, the court costs have been paid by both parties historically, so winning in court, might still be losing. It might be better to simply pay the fees that would go to lawyers and be 100% certain of the outcome. A court ruling in 2014 has shifted this court cost dilemma. (See Wikipedia article on Patent Trolls.)
Imagine a portfolio of patents related to predictive arrival. That is, when will a product, person or thing arrive. The patent portfolio has 60 some patents with about half still active. That affects almost every business concept from shipping, manufacturing, service and more. It certainly hits on most of the activities that occur on the internet as well. Airlines, shippers, buses, and school buses -- government and private -- have fallen prey to the transit NPE.
So a small(er) business, attempting to do business, gets suddenly clobbered by legal notices and maybe even law suits. WHAT!!!??? The company probably has no patent attorney, so they scramble to find one. The patent attorney advises, at say $500 per hour, on the options and the potential costs. Litigation will cost $250,000, unless you lose; then it gets expensive!.
So, what's a small firm to do? This fight is like taking a pocket knife to a gun fight. Might be better to pay some fee, say $25,000-$50,000 and possibly a licensing fee (say a small % of sales), then to risk the bankrupting if the business. 
All agreements are confidential, so it is hard to see who paid what licensing fees, and how much. The big shippers of FedEx and UPS have, apparently, full licensing for them and their clients. So a small company that uses their services, and only their services (of shipping and notification), might be in the clear. 
The big NPE in this Simon & Chao article is Shipping & Transit LLC. About 10 years ago, the company tried to do a product for buses and shipping (Bus Stop and ArrivalStar). But neither worked out. So now Shipping and Transit sit around suing companies. 
Not a single law suit has gone the distance. Consequently, none of the patents have been really tested. This is interesting since many of the patent claims are rather obvious and arrival/queuing goes back 50-100 years. 
It seems like some type of a class action suit would be possible and force the issue against the NPE. The secret to the success of the Patent Troll, however, is to pick off the prey a few small targets at a time. Then, those victims who survive, are signed into an iron-clad agreement that cannot be breached under penalty of death. The airlines, FedEx and UPS are not talking, but what an interesting conversation that would be. 
The Jones gang of Shipping & Transit, way back in the day (circa Y2K) of ArrivalStar were ruthless. Doesn’t seem like much has changed… 
Keywords: NPE, Patent Troll, licensing, PLA, patent licensing agreement, economic development, 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Readying a Patent Portfolio for Sale

In years gone by, companies with extensive patent portfolios were loathe to sell these assets, strongly preferring to license them.  These Patent Licensing Agreements (PLA) came in several flavors, most had some form of royalty payments for the licensor and the fundamental was that ownership of the patents remained with the original owner, i.e., the company granted the patent(s).
While not totally different today, much has changed in the disposition of thousands of US patents.  Patents are now sold in much greater numbers than in decades past.  Some of the reasons for this are:
·         Corporate decision to shut down or sell of an operating division
·         Near term need to financially rescue another part of the corporation
·         Shift in corporate direction/strategy
·         Pay a court imposed penalty
Patent sales are now so commonplace that online IP reporter sites like www.IAM.comrecently devoted a webinarto the patent selling process.  This process, as one can see, includes seven steps.  The assumption here is that the seller completed a validity check to the extent possible on each patent offered for sale. 
It is noteworthy under Step 6 that the biggest buyers of patents review around 1,000 seller packages per year.  This clearly puts the onus on the seller to develop a first class patent package.  It also suggests that this is a buyers’ market putting more of a burden on the seller to find ways to get the most value for its assets.

Keywords: patent, patent portfolio, licensing, PLA, Patent Licensing Agreement, commercialization. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Maria Pallante out of Copyright. Unified IP?

Maria Pallante: out of Copyright Office

Great article by Dennis Crouch over at Patently-O. (But then aren't they all great over there.)

Apparently Pallante is out as Chief of the Copyright office. And the clamor is up as to why we don't have a unified IP at the patent and trademark office, kind of a US PTOC. (I guess that would be pronounced Pea-Talk, or PeeTalk, if you wanted to talk dirty.)

Back in 2012, Crouch recommended creating an integrated US Intellectual Property Organization, or USIPO (you sip oh) akin to WIPO for the world of IP.

The argument for an integrated IP approach "...  is that many operating businesses relying upon intellectual property (IP) rights typically do not focus on a single form of IP rights but instead take a layered approach that includes some combination of patent, trademark, copyright, contractual, employment, trade secret, and design rights, for instance."

With all the changes happening, or potentially happening, in the IP world this integration seems like a great idea when the time has come.

Let's go with USIPO, not PTOC, on this one.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Photographer Files $1 Billion Suit Against Getty for Licensing Her Public Domain Images

Photographer Files $1 Billion Suit Against Getty for Licensing Her Public Domain Images [UPDATED] - Hyperallergic:

Wow. Getty was selling public domain photos to everyone, including the photog herself.

Getty was notifying people with the images that they must pay money to keep using them (on their own web sites, etc.). So the copyright owner, Carol Highsmith, gets a $120 bill for using her own picture on her own web site.

Highsmith had donated the pictures to the library of congress for use by the general public at no charge.

Getty says, no, we were simply providing a service by selling these photos to people.

You say "potato", I say "Stolen Tomato".

Oh, by the way,

Highsmith is a really, really good photographer.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Olivier Scalabre: The next manufacturing revolution is here | TED Talk |

Olivier Scalabre: The next manufacturing revolution is here | TED Talk |

Yes. It is here. The next generation of manufacturing.This is an absolutely spot on TED talk related to the world of manufacturing.

Everyone in the USA wines and complains about the flight of manufacturing from the USA. We don't make anything any more. That's not really true. We still make a lot of stuff, but the percentage of the workforce that makes stuff is a much, much lower percentage.

After 3 major industrial "revolutions" that have lasted 50-60 years each, we are due for another breakthrough technology/process/approach. It has now been about 50 years of slowing productivity. And the next revolution is already here.

Monsieur Olivier has very profound arguments for manufacturing to return onshore. One of his arguments is mass customization that is best done near to market (onshore), especially with the latest technologies.

There's another massive argument that pertains to the US, and not Europe (France). With new technologies of fracking & horizontal drilling, the US is swimming in cheap oil and (nat)gas. A huge proportion of manufacturing has to do with the cost of electricity -- cheap and clean(er) now with the major switches away from coal (toward NatGas and renewables). Transportation is cheap and more efficient. Plus, almost everything manufactured uses oil, particulates and natural gas. All plastics can, and should be manufactured at home.

We have been flaring about half of the NatGas in the US. All we have to do is set up an electric plant (run electric transmission lines) and/or a plastics factory next to the oil fields to capture some of this free energy.

Also, in 2015 and 2016, renewable energy has broken through that foggy glass floor. Without considering any of the externalities of coal, wind and solar are now cheaper for electricity. If the true costs of coal, considering all externalities are 2 to 3 times the price at the meter, then cheaper, better and cleaner energy is available at home. Far better in all respects than any factory in China or India.

Watch the assumptions and assertions in Olivier's presentation and see how much and how quickly it all comes to pass.
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Friday, September 2, 2016

PTO 101 worst management Practices. Workers bilked the government of millions by playing hooky, watchdog finds - The Washington Post

Patent office workers bilked the government of millions by playing hooky, watchdog finds - The Washington Post:

The USPTO wins, hands down. They have implemented 101 of the all time worst management practices, all at one time.

It may be worthy of a method patent application since no one has ever considered implementing all know mis-management practices at once in one organization.

In reading the Washington Post article by Lisa Rein, you move from groan and wonderment, to GROAN and bewilderment, to actual PAIN and anger.

All processes are broken as designed. It is reasonably hard to manage with a Union. There is no good rationale for unionization within government, really. Combine that with a cozy relationship where there is no accountability and no direct responsibility.

To accommodate the new technology and new ways possible of working (telework, computer record searches, cloud computing, etc.) they regressed to pre-computer processes, measures and methods.

People who work at home, don't have to log in to work. People who come to work have to time-clock in, but never clock out. People who don't work much during the week, log in huge amounts of overtime and receive big bonuses.

When you read a report like this, you assume that you are likely reading the worst of the worst. This seems to be so prevasive, however, that it is embedded in the culture and the protocols, i.e., standard operating procedure (SOP, or in this case SOL). It appears that this is only a sample, so the problem is likely approximately a multiple of the problem. That is, the report is not a measure of the problem, but can be used to generate a huge estimate of how BIG the problem really is.


This is painful to read at so many levels. This is a case study of government failure, management structure decay, and leadership incompetence. It is all the best of bad leadership practices integrated into one office.

We at SBP love innovation and want to see the USPTO do the best job possible for the world of innovation. We at SBP love telework, and believe telecommuting is one of the easiest, fastest, and bestest ways to start improving our carbon footprint (while savings massive amounts of time and money doing so).

The only bright spot in the whole report is that poor performers are monitored (read managed) and consequently only 4% of the identifiable problems of fraud come from the poor performers. Good news, poor performers don't do a very good job, but they also don't do a spectacular job of cheating taxpayer, either.

Managers are obviously a huge part of the problem in so many ways and at so many levels. This whole environment is not salvageable; congress needs to kill off everything USPTO related, and rebuild the organization with proper structure and incentives.

Oh this is ugly...
Painfully, UGLY!

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The world's first super light folding electric bike | YikeBike

The world's first super light folding electric bike | YikeBike:

Even cooler than the Segway, and multiple times as functional.

Give a look at this YikeBike. When you see this bike, you will say Yikes!

It is reminisce of the old High Wheeler bikes with the monster wheel in front, and no gears (1-speed). But with a twist.

The question to ask is this new bike a true invention? Is it innovation? Or is it both?

It won the Time Magazine's intention of the year in 2009. Finalist in Nobel's Prize for Sustainability.

Part of that question might be answered by how many patents the technology harbors.

The main international PCT patent (2008-2009) has been filed in about 8 countries and does not appear to be issued. There are other interesting patent technologies integrated into the design. Here's the main patent WO2010007516A1 from the EPO.

It seems like a great alternative to the idea of our usual approach to jump into our SUV and drive a few streets to work or for a latte -- 180 pound person being transported by a 2,000 vehicle using a 300-400 horse power motor.

This idea seems to solve several problems with the bike as a mode of transportation, some problems that we never really knew we had.

When you look at the product, you will wonder where the motor and the batteries hide.

How does it keep from falling over in 3 different directions?

What is a "farthing" and how can it possibly be considered a great selling point? Even if you call it a "mini-farthing". Do we really need a secondary axis, orthogonal to the primary axis?

Can you take your YikeBike on your man bike (Harley) without being called out for having a "girlie-man bike"?

Where can you get a YikeBike? Apparently, they have free international shipping.

YikeBike comes with "the freedom to park wherever I DAMN please!"

Will people say, "Wow", "Cool" and "hip", or will they say:


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Stronger Chinese Patent Laws Also Help U.S. Companies - WSJ

Stronger Chinese Patent Laws Also Help U.S. Companies - WSJ:

China is blasting past the USA in the patent world. They have already been the most busy patent office in the world for several years.

But now they are the office with the most issued patents: 359,000 issues, up 45% from 2014. WoW!

And we, in the USA are down 1% to below 300k.

Interesting that they pay up to $4,500 (30,000 yuan) for patents. That's probably more than full reimbursement for the full patent costs in China. People could make money by taking patent applications elsewhere (non PCT) and file them in China. And, that's apparently what people did. It seems that the motive to get paid the government subsidies for issued patents would incentivate a nice bribery market.

China first stepped into the world of intellectual property in 1985 when joining the World Trade Organization.

Many foreign companies are able to sue, successfully, in China. But, of course, they would only sue once they knew they have a clear-cut case and inspected the political landscape.

I still think that part of the massive move to China for IP is to help cut off the infringers at both ends of the product pirating pipeline from China to USA/EU/Japan: manufacture, distributor/exporter, retailer, and seller.

"Serious obstacles" of IP in China for foreign companies by the State Department is, by all measures an understatement. However, there seems to be progress.

Note that this article is more complete than the one printed in the paper.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

ARM Holdings is giving up their "holding" to Sprint/SoftBank

ARM Holdings, the maker of chips and chip making technology has week a favorite here at IPZine. They are basically an IP company holding lots of patents on lots of stuff. They specialize in energy-efficient, reduced instruction set (RISC) chip technology; build it and then license it out to chip makers.
They have really taken off into the work of the Internet of Things.
Today SoftBank (parent of Sprint) has offered to by ARMH in an all cash bid. The stock is up 50% today. Even at this elevated price, the price-to-earnings ratio is 70!. Compare that to Intel (INTC) with a paltry PE of 15. Profit margin of 35% vs 20% for INTC.
ARM has remained independent and resisted the various take-over pressures. Until now. This changes somewhat the ARM dynamic of licensing tech to multiple players and making lots of money from licensing revenues (nearly pure profit). ARM has focused on tools and R&D and left the heavy work of manufacturing, distribution, etc. to their clients.
This is probably a good time to start getting out of the stock; SoftBand (Sprint) is not nearly the same type of investment. Sprint is more of a utility play, not R&D.
The drop in British Pound has made ARMH a far better deal to acquire. (ARMH is UK based.)
On a separate note, SoftBank's interests in buying up chip makers might become more complicated with ARM Holdings, in the company's holdings.
In the end, the independence of ARM Holdings didn't hold.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Supreme Court Brings back Treble Damages - WSJ

Supreme Court Makes It Easier for Patent Holders to Win More in Damages - WSJ:

The unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court brings back the serious damages -- up to 3 times -- for willful patent infringement. Recent lower court rulings were making it virtually impossible to go after big, treble-the-losses, damages. That is the BIG STICK in patent infringement cases. Some companies strategy is to just keep infringing and simply let the lawyers do the heavy lifting. Smaller companies often do not have the resources to fight, especially if it becomes long and protracted.

The threat of treble damages, kind of keeps every honest, usually. Take that away and infringement becomes much less risky.

One of the first options for a patent holder is to enjoin the infringer from producing and selling. This can take some time; the patent claims are always contested, etc., etc. Fortunately, the USPTO has improved this process of patent review so that the strength and quality of the patent can be established early on.

Of course, one end result of infringement is a licencing agreement. However, someone who will infringe your patent, might also go to great lengths to avoid giving an accurate count of the units sold and the royalties payable.

During all this time, the infringing company is trying to develop a work-around so that they can continue selling the products but avoid the infringement. Market build, product established.

If the patent has not yet been issued, the game is even more convoluted.

On the flip side of treble damages is the patent troll (NPE). One would hope that judges would evaluate the case of a troll company that simply sits on a pile of patents with no intentions of producing any actual products and takes a toll off of any and all commerce in the industries/products where their patented technologies apply.

*** Update below on June 17, 2016. ***

An excellent Legal-centric focus of this ruling comes form Dennis Crouch at Patently-O. He also discusses "willful" and suggests that "egregious infringement" might be the new standard going forward.

From a more business perspective, Joff Wild at IAM-media offered some interesting insights about the Halo ruling. He noted that Justice Roberts gave us the first official definition of "Patent Trolls", there s also a discussion of "efficient infringer", and this ruling obviously is a great step forward for patent owners, but a small, first-step.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

A closer look at the PTAB’s new post-issuance review procedures - Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) - Maximising IP Value for Business

A closer look at the PTAB’s new post-issuance review procedures - Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) - Maximising IP Value for Business:

Once a patent has been issued, there are Big, BIG changes as to the review process.

Here is the most comprehensive take on these changes you will find anywhere.

It is rather readable. It is rather detailed. And it is a critical-to-know follow on to anyone involved in the patent pipeline.

Now the question, you want answered, does this new (additional) process help to mend a broken patent system?

See what you think?

'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tech is here. Improving faster.

Romm discusses the changes in solar, wind, EE, and batteries that keep beating expectations. Note the charts on estimates that have been consistently low.

Friday, May 6, 2016

A single round (1 round) Delphi study. How can that be? – Scenario Plans (

A single round (1 round) Delphi study. How can that be? – Scenario Plans (:

Give a look at the two blogs related to Scenario plans and Delphi studies related to the 2007 research by Dr. Cheryl Lentz. Notice how Delphi-type research can be used for all kinds of studies.

These are two blog posts. One on the actual Delphi research doing two things that make it a modified Delphi: 1 round, and quantitative.

The second post is
We love Delphi for scenario planning and a mechanism for innovation. 

See what you think?

Keywords, Scenario Plans, Horizon Planning, innovation, Delphi, Future, innovation, perpetual innovation, 

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Busted, or not busted, our patent system

One of the most revered, trusted and enduring of America's industrial and technological advantages is our patent system.  Except that, it isn't anymore.  Patents are included in the US Constitution, proof positive that the Foundering Fathers considered them critically important to the future of the country.  That was then, this is now and you'll understand when you go to  It was written by Jay Walker,the founder of Priceline in the late 1990s.

Here is an insightful chronology of how much the patent system benefited the country up until the last several decades.  The system is now too cumbersome and costly such that 95% (Walker's data) of inventions are not available to small and medium size businesses.  Only the mega corporations have the human, financial and technological resources to fully utilize the system.  A study is cited stating that liberating the patent system from litigation-based costs and risks would create $200B/yr in increased economic output.
Although Hall & Hinkelman (2015) in the Patent Primer 3.0 boast of Intellectual Property, mainly patents, as one of "the great equalizers of our lifetime", not all companies who use patents are equally able to capitalize on them.
Hall, E. B. & Hinkelman, R. M. (2015). Perpetual Innovation™: Patent primer 3.0: Patents, the great equalizer of our time! An overview of intellectual property for inventors and entrepreneurs.  Morrisville, NC: LuLu Press. ISBN: 978-1-329-17833-5  Retrieved from:
Hall, E. B. & Hinkelman, R. M. (2015). Perpetual Innovation™: Patent primer 3.0e: Patents, the great equalizer of our time! An overview of intellectual property with patenting cost estimates for inventors and entrepreneurs.  [Amazon Kindle eBook].  ASIN: B010ISU7ZG

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Turmoil in the US Patent System- Why Bother?

"The US patent system may have lost some of its mojo, but that doesn't mean that these assets are any less deserving of attention.  For small and mid- sized businesses in particular, it is more crucial than ever to keep their IP house in order...IP protection can seem tangential to the core goal of getting their invention out...moreover, the cost of applying for, prosecuting and maintainng a patent can at first blush seem prohibitive.  Throw in heightened risk factors in today's environment and it becomes even more apparent why patents have become a turn-off for many smaller businesses..." (Mighty oaks from small acorns grow" Jack Ellis,

The current place and value of patents in the US economy is captive of a negative churn.  News stories on patents focus on: a) litigation where a patent owner has sued a competitor for alleged infringement only to be counter-sued for alleged infringement; b) massive monetary awards coming out of multi-year litigation award which immediately initiates another costly litigation in the appeal process; c) multi-billion dollar acquisitions by one tech giant of another's thousands of patents to protect a single product line.   Amounts in the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars are now commonplace in litigation and acquisition.  It is no wonder, then, that the inventor in the garage wants no part of the patent process.

It is understandable that an intimidation factor would be very much in play.  But, it is of critical importance that the inventor have a clear understanding of the risks involved in not getting one or more patents on his invention or design.  Several reasons why the inventor must apply for a patent:

  • If you don't claim it, you don't own it.  The fundamental criterion in a patent prosecution.  By law, the patent application for the invention must specifically state what its utility is, what the invention does step-by-step, sequence-by-sequence.  This is where the protection resides when the patent is granted by the USPTO or for entity if applied for in a foreign country. 
  • A patent(s) provides, when utilized appropriately, a "Barrier to Competitive Entry" as described in Chapter 4, p82, of Perpetual Innovation- A Guide to Strategic Planning, Patent Commercialization and Enduring Competitive Advantage (V2) by Hall & Hinkelman.  A barrier patent strategy works in key ways; a) it signals the customer market that this invention/product is good enough to be patented reinforcing high quality and value and that this is the only source, b) signals potential competitors that the product is legally protected.  To enter the market, a competitor must "design around" the existing product which takes valuable time in the market adoption cycle.
  • A patented product provides another advantage to the owner- that of the potential for value-added patents that improve/enhance the original product.  Value-added frequently comes from customer feedback on new needs and functional improvements.  The only way to enhance the original and extend its life cycle is by having a patent on the original product.
  • Strong patent protection and constant market vigilance are essential in asserting infringement claims when appropriate.
In this global economy, competitors are everywhere and for many the only operating method is take what you can when you can and the hell with everything else.  As the inventor, you have spent years, long days, sleepless nights and emotional exhaustion getting toa market introduction.  Don't risk losing your just rewards.  Patent.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Chinese Hoverboard Booth Raided by US Marshals at CES - Patent enforcement

Chinese Hoverboard Booth Raided by U.S. Marshals at CES | Watch the video - Yahoo Finance:

Also, there's a better story and another video on Bloomberg here.

That's very brazen. A Chinese knock-off shows up at a big gadget expo (Consumer Electronics expo) with samples of a single-wheel hoverboard that distinctly looks and functions like the Onewheel patented by Future Motion of California (inventor Kyle Doerksen). The Onewheel utility patent was already issued and this week a design patent was approved.

Federal Marshals showed up to take the knock-offs off in handcuffs (so to speak).

It is the responsibility of a patent owner to enforce patents. A willful infringer can be subject to treble damages (civil suit). But to really shut down a determined pirate, requires a diligent effort.

To do this so quickly and so forcefully, requires some pretty impressive action on the part of Future Motion.

Note the part that Alibaba, the Chinese answer to Amazon on steroids, plays in the infringement process. If you are buying a one-wheel for $500 but the real manufacture sells Onewheel at $1,500, you might be buying into something that is too good to be true.

Note the part that Kickstarter played in launching this invention with a massively successful $630k campaign. See here.

Note, lastly, that there appear to be quite a few patents within this space. (The Chinese company may have been infringing on dozens of patents, not just 2.)

Well, time to go levitate.

'via Blog this'

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Viagra/Cialis Patents soon to fall on hard times in a Generic World

Viagra to go Generic in 2017.
2017 is going to be a good year for cheap(er) sex. First off, Cialis will fall off of the patent cliff. In the same year, Teva has negotiated with Pfizer to introduce a  generic version of the little blue pill. So guys will no longer have to pay $10 per pill for a good (or better) time. Since the hard costs of Viagra are so low, a very optimistic guy could buy a years worth of 365 pills for the price of the current 10 or 20 pill prescription.

For some reason, I thought that the big patents for Viagra expired in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This article talks about 2020. But, if Cialis goes generic in 2017 --  and it works to leave a guy always in idle mode -- then Viagra will find itself is serious price and market share pressure. The key Viagra patents were disallowed in Canada, so cheap pills are simply a phone or a Niagara trip away.

Each of the last 5 or 6 years has resulted in major patent cliffs for big block-buster drugs. Big Pharma has been trying hard to replace the lost revenues.

The active ingredients in Viagra is sildenafil citrate. The high costs of Cialis and Viagra lead some guys to buys stuff online from sources that have various degrees of credibility, reliability and varied levels of efficacy.  This seems like a hard way to meet the needs of an active love life.

At least no one should feel the need to rut through the horns of elk or saw off the horns of rhinoceros to get that extra little pick-me-up for their love life. They should be able to simply pop into the latest pharma and buy it.