Does The New Patent Licensing Regime Look Like The Old Patent Licensing Regime?
So, not that long ago, partially in reaction to the fascinating results of Walker Digital’s novel attempt to auction freedom to operate under its patents (as opposed to the patents themselves), I declared the dawning of a new era in patent licensing: Litigation is simply obsolete, and will most likely end up being reserved for […]
Gametime IP is primarily a conceptual way of thinking about your IP assets that essentially reinforces the aspects of your IP that make it valuable. I’ll never forget taking a course on IP Licensing from this guy, when he was a visiting professor at Michigan State College of Law. He told us he was excited to teach us about licensing because, unlike other courses in law school where lawyers learn how to spend their clients’ money, licensing was a way to help our clients make money.
Two of my recent IPWire posts have addressed frequent patent challenger Unified Patents, and their self-appointed mission to profit from the destruction of intellectual property. The first post, in June, exposed Unified Patents IPR results and compared them against IPR petitioner’s at large. As it turns out, only about 1/3 of Unified’s IPRs are actually instituted and their petitions are actually affirmatively denied at twice the rate of petitions as a whole. Please check out the post for a full breakdown of the data and methodology used.
Suffolk Technologies, a Delaware LLC, accused AOL and Google of infringing patents–including US Patent 6,081,835–through the use of Google AdWords and AdSense. A lawsuit filed in June 2012 explained that the patents originated at British Telecom (BT), and a series of simultaneously recorded assignments shows the patents subsequently assigned to IPValue and then Suffolk. According to an order issued on December 7, 2012 by Judge T.S. Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia,
On October 19th, a Texas-based company sued Apple over US Patent 7,177,798. Assignment records indicate the ’798 Patent is owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and court documents state that Dynamic Advances, LLC is the “exclusively licensee” for the ’798 and “facilitates Rensselaer’s goal of commercializing its patented inventions to the benefit of the general public and to further Rensselaer’s mission to apply science to the common purposes of life.”
Much of Dynamic Advances’ complaint is devoted to explaining the coverage and importance of the ’798 Patent. Independent Claim 9, also quoted in the complaint, provides:
Little more than one year ago, GametimeIP reported that a German investment fund acquired a substantial portfolio from British Telecom:
According to a press release issued yesterday, the German patent fund Patentportfolio 2 S.a.r.l. acquired 400 patent assets from publicly held BT Group PLC. The group is funded by the German investment fund Alpha Patentfronds 2, and strategic IP advisory services will be provided by IP Navigation Group (Europe).
In a rare move, given their previous disdain for intellectual property owners, Google released new enhancements to the free Google Patents search engine to help patent owners–along with lawyers, analysts and advisors–identify and investigate potential patent infringement. To avoid potential backlash from a community of activists that have rallied around the search advertising giant, Google conveniently disguised the tool as one aimed at helping to crush intellectual property rights of anyone standing in their way. However, Google’s new capability potentially has broad implications, many of which benefit patent owners looking to improve patent licensing and monetization results using modern technology.
Two bills currently pending in Congress, if passed, would ultimately impact patent enforcement far more than the lengthy America Invents Act signed into law last year. First up is H.R. 3889 Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales Act, introduced by California Republican (and inventor) Darrell Issa and aimed at curbing enforcement of design patents that claim “a component part of a motor vehicle.” Also pending is H.R. 6245, reportedly dubbed the Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act. Interestingly, the only online source that appears to have an actual pdf copy of the bill text (as of Thursday evening) is the Electronic Freedom Foundation.
In a paper published on July 25, 2012 (available from SSRN), Chicago-area scholars David Schwartz and Jay Kesan challenge a study by Boston University professors James Bessen and Michael Meurer, which claimed that patent litigation generated by so-called “non-practicing entities” imposes direct costs of $29 B. Intellectual Ventures’ Peter Detkin and Patentology’s Mark Summerfield already challenged a number of the premises and conclusions behind the Bessen/Meurer paper, which was, not coincidentally, funded by corporate giants, such as Google, Cisco and Amazon.com through funding from the Coalition for Patent Fairness.
The BBC ran another article in a tired meme about evil patent owners supposedly “costing” billions per year. Of course, the article doesn’t specify who supposedly bore this $29 B “cost” or how it was calculated, but instead cites a Boston University paper by Professors James Bessen and Michael Meurer. According to the BBC article, “Intellectual Ventures, one of the highest-profile NPEs, was not available for comment.” However, an IV spokeswoman told Gametime IP that she was surprised by the article and that the BBC had not, in fact, reached out to them for comment.