As one of America’s largest and most productive full-service intellectual property law firms, Cantor Colburn has provided comprehensive intellectual property law services to a diverse group of domestic and foreign companies. And with the power of our Derwent World Patents Index, the firm is helping their clients rest easy when it comes to their patent portfolios.
One of the key services the firm provides is advising clients which areas they should venture into, based on the current IP landscape. Part of their exhaustive search process is DWPI, which allows Cantor Colburn attorneys to foresee legal issues before they ever materialize. We spoke to Dr. Leah Reimer, who explains:
“By using a combination of analytics from Thomson Reuters, we are able to quickly search across patent classes, keywords and enforcement history to help inform our strategy […] [It] helps us answer a question we receive every day from clients: What is going on with that patent?”
To read more about how Cantor Colburn utilizes our products to help service their clients, a full case study is available by clicking here.
Laura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: Can you patent spooky? It’s a question we posed to our research team who plumbed the deepest, darkest depths of the Derwent World Patents Index™ (DWPI) database, this Halloween, for examples of ghoulish, ghostly IP designed to thrill, chill and haul copious amounts of candy.
Whether you prefer to trick or treat, there’s a little something for everyone in our list of Top 10 Halloween Patents. It’s worth noting: some of these have yet to be granted, and are published patent applications. Without further ado, here’s the list:
An additional invention worth mentioning but without an image is the patent application for fluorescent Halloween candy. This invention, by Jose Luis Nolasco of Denver, Colorado, has the following detail: “Fluorescent candy composition comprises edible substance that glows brightly from fluorescence under a black light, granulated sugar and corn syrup.”
According to the Financial Times, Microsoft has acquired some of Nokia’s mobile phone business for €3.79 billion, and agreed to license roughly 30,000 of its technology patents for €1.65 billion.
Breaking out the patent licenses is unusual, according to Richard Waters, but he explains that, in advance of the deal, most analysts had estimated that the patents were worth about $5bn. The prospect of additional big licensing deals to match the Microsoft payment suggested the figure may have been an understatement.
Laura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: Nokia is a good example of a company that has managed their IP well despite the challenges they were facing in the marketplace. Last year, we saw Eastman Kodak declare bankruptcy and auction their patent portfolio. But by amassing very valuable holdings in the communications industry and selling licenses to hardware makers, Nokia has been able to keep their options open while exploring strategic alternatives for the future of their business.
This sale that unbundles patent licenses is unique, but is a product of the direction the smartphone patent wars have taken the industry, where protection against litigation is of paramount importance. It will be interesting to see if similar deals come to fruition as the competition intensifies.
Recently, three chief executive officers from technology companies came to Washington to petition Congress to alter the patent system. Among the CEOs’ requests were harsh penalties for non-practicing entities (NPEs or “patent trolls”). The Washington Post’s Wonkblog has the confessions of an anonymous CEO who is currently the target of a suit by NPE:
“Last week I spent 10 or 12 hours working on this. And in a startup that’s a lot. [I spend time] producing documents, reviewing stuff from my lawyers, answering questions from my lawyers. It’s affected our hiring, it’s affected my stress levels and my health. It sucks up time I could spend growing the business.”
- Anonymous, chief executive officer at a technology start up, July 18, 2013
Is the 3D patent industry about to explode? According to Fundzilla, it’s simply a matter of patent expirations.
The report cites Duann Scott, design evangelist at 3D printing company Shapeways, who says that key patents that currently prevent competition in the market for the most advanced and functional 3D printers will expire this coming February. Chief among these is the patent that covers “laser sintering,” which is the lowest-cost 3D printing technology. Because of its high resolution in all three dimensions, laser sintering can produce goods that can be sold as finished products.
Laura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: The 3D printing industry has been steeped in controversy of late, so these expiring patents could open up an interesting debate: which companies should be able to obtain patents to harness this technology? What products should and should not be printable? And, should the technology reach the end consumer, will these open up industries to new avenues of product piracy? This is certainly one to keep an eye on…
Today, we announced that Thomson Innovation® has added full-text patent records from the office of IP Australia.
Full-text Australian innovation (petty) patents and granted patents – as well as applications – will allow IP professionals to make more informed filing decisions, identify potential partners, and monitor the innovation landscape of one of the world’s largest countries.
Thomson Innovation recently added English-translated patent records from Vietnam and Thailand, as well as Malaysian full-text patents. We plan to continue our patent coverage in 2013 with future additions.
For more information, visit: http://thomsoninnovation.com.
The White House announced last week that they are set to take action against non-practicing entities (NPEs), also known as patent-holding firms. Amid concerns that the firms are abusing the patent system and disrupting competition, President Barack Obama has announced a set of executive actions aimed at NPEs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, President Obama is expected to direct the patent office to train examiners to scrutinize applications for overly broad patent claims, as well as rein in the growing use of the Interntaional Trade Commission to settle patent disputes.
Back in February, the President struck out against NPEs: “[Some firms] don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack someone else’s idea to see if they can extort some money out of them.”
Obama’s pursuit of NPEs is being widely embraced by tech companies. Rackspaces’s vice president of IP Van Lindeberg said: “The patent troll problem is a tough one, and there are no silver bullets to cure it, but we think this really is a great start. We’re fully on board.”
Last week was a big one in the war on NPEs. At the state level, Vermont accused MPHJ Technology of violating consumer protection law, and will pursue litigation.
The Supreme Court has ruled on the patenting of human genes.
This Thursday, the Court ruled that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, throwing out patents held by Myriad Genetics in the process.
Justice Clarence Thomas said that Myriad’s contention – that the DNA it isolated from the body for its brest and ovarian cancer tests were patentable – violated patent rules.
According to the Reuters, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been awarding patents on human genes for almost 30 years, but opponents of Myriad’s patents say such protection should not be given to something that can be found inside the human body.
In February, an Australia court upheld Myriad’s patents, despite objections from the Australian Cancer Coucil that said allowing private companies to monopolize tests for genetic mutations would form a “gene monopoly.”
The state of Vermont has joined the fight against non-practicing entities (NPEs), otherwise known as “patent trolls.” According to recent reports, the state has accused a firm called MPHJ Technology of violating consumer protection law.
Gigaom reports that MPHJ Technology operates 40 shell corporations through a UPS Store in Delaware. MPHJ has allegedly demanded as much as $900-$1200 per employee from Vermont small businesses to buy a license for the various patents they currently hold or face a lawsuit. The patents in question date back to 2001 and involve “technology for scanning documents and attaching them in an email.”
State Attorney General William Sorrell had harsh words for NPEs when asked about the case:
“Hopefully would-be patent trolls will see this and realize that if you want to prey on Vermont businesses large and small they’re going to have a fight on their hands.”
Earlier this month, Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced his intention to introduced laws into the Senate that would target these types of corporations.
A recent study found that 90% of technology companies have been financially impacted or distracted from their core business by non-practicing entities, 80% said their customers have received NPE demands for using a product accused on violating an existing patent, and 40% of firms said their products had changed as a result.