Category Archives: Intellectual Property

Thomas Piketty and the Foreign-Investment Question

By Bernard Avishai – In 1975, about twenty per cent of companies’ valuations could be attributed to intangible assets, such as knowledge; by 2007, the proportions were reversed.

Changes in the makeup of corporate assets matters, in particular, when discussing international inequality.

The gap between rich and poor countries is between knows and know-nots, not just between haves and have-nots.

It used to make sense to assume that, once a domestic business owned material assets, it wouldn’t need a very high learning curve before it was working more or less profitably. But, while that outlook worked for products like soap, it doesn’t hold up for something like smart phones: virtually anyone with a factory, a recipe, and cheap labor can make soap, but building smart phones requires knowledge. more>


House ‘Trolls’ For Patent Letter Abuse Solutions

By: John Eggerton – The issue of reining in patent assertion entity demand letter abusers (“patent trolls” in the lingo of their critics) took on the metaphorical tenor of a garment industry sweat shop Thursday (May 22) as both sides said it might be helpful to lock themselves in a room so they could thread the needle of coming up with legislation that would hammer abusers without harming legitimate patent protection. more>


How IBM Plans to Make Oracle Obsolete

By Rob Enderle – At the core is IBM’s Open efforts, which give customers access to hardware, systems and software to create highly customized and optimized solutions designed around their specific needs.

As IBM itself knows, once customers start to leave a company, it’s hard to stop the exodus. So IBM is positioning software, hardware and services against this massive opportunity and providing access to more core IBM technology under license than ever before to both customers and partners. more>

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

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

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

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

Google’s Giant $1 Patent Victory

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

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

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

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