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 www.wired.com/2015/01/fixing-broken-patent-system.  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: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SBPlan
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, www.iam-media.com)

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.