Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Latest from Way Better Patents

The Patent Box Scores are up.  This week USPTO granted 5,903 patents to 16,027 named inventors.  US first named inventors received 2,833 (48%) of the grants with foreign inventors accounted for 3,070 (52%).  The summary is on the landing page (mobile users can use the nav box up top to jump to the Score Card.)  The Databank has all of the details.  There is also a compact view of all the patent box scores if you prefer.

A continuing trend is for the top ten foreign countries receiving patents to make up 85% of the grantees.  Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China, four of the top five foreign recipients, account for 1,742 of the foreign grants. That's 57% of all of the foreign patents and 29.5% of all patents awarded this week.

Work has started on weekly analysis of co-inventorship.  We have been looking at the level of global co-inventorship on new patents as well as how co-inventorship with dominant IP intense areas of the world reflects the informationization of R&D - the ability of researchers to collaborate across the globe.  We are finding many cross-border teams linking Southern Hemisphere inventors to teams in Asia, Europe, and the US.  By looking at where all of the inventors on patents are we get a much more refined look at who is inventing what and where.  For example, when you count all the inventors to assign patents to a country, US and Asian inventors are even more dominant than when you are counting only first named inventors.  We are also looking at homogenous inventorship where all of the inventors are from the same country vs. cross-border inventorship in an attempt to see where new pockets of expertise are emerging.  We expect to have new statistics up in the coming weeks.

USPTO has granted 148,319 utility patents, 13,038 design patents, and 467 plant patents.  While 410 design patents are granted each week, more a by product of the contract with USPTO's printing and digital production contract than a true indicator of  inventive activity,  it is interesting to watch the  increasing correlation between the volume of information technology based inventions and the classification of the design patents being granted.

We are adding the Troll Roll.  We are pragmatic about patent-asset backed business models and patent monetization and securitization.  These business models are here to stay despite all the cage rattling in Washington and the Valley.  So we have added a compendium of the latest patent monetization and patent assertion news around the web and beyond.  While troll is still a pejorative for the architects and operators of these types of businesses, we couldn't find a snappier headline for the collection.  When the President of the United States uses the term we guess it's gone mainstream.  No offense Mr. Spangenberg, Mr. Ryan, and Mr. Myhrvold.

Here is the Link-O-Matic to our recent articles:

Hate the Game Not the Player - Our take on the NY Times article about Erich Spangenberg, the king of patent trolling and our take on his business model.

Failing the Straight Face Test - Boston University Law's IP professor spread the word about the evils of patent trolls with their ubiquitous study that proclaims  $23B in lost innovation due to patent trolls while the Trustees file patent infringement lawsuit against Apple asserting an 18 year old patent based on prior art dating back 22 years.

Who's Calling? - There are lots of reasons why patent assertion entities and their partners, investors, and other cohorts don't want the Real Party In Interest disclosed in the normal course of their patent monetization business activities.  We provide some of the top reasons.

We are also getting ready to publish our weekly invention reports.  We pick an invention from the top classes of patents awarded each week to have a quick look at what people are inventing.  We start with business methods and other information age inventions.

Be sure to check out the Link-O-Matics that come with each article.  We provide the links to the policy, business, and academic work that surrounds the topics discussed in our articles.  We hope this keeps the articles in context and give our readers real world context on the background of the issues.

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As always, please let us know what you think.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Boston University Goes Big Game Hunting

All of the non-practicing entities who have been taking a beating over their business models lately must be enjoying this week's patent litigation developments.

Boston University filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple asserting an 18 year old invention. The same Boston University whose legal scholars published the oft cited and passionately embraced finding that NPE patent assertions are substantial, totaling about $29 billion accrued in 2011 alone. We are having a hard time keeping a straight face.

This latest development adds a new level of complexity for public policy people trying to figure out how to balance the impact of patent assertion and infringement law suits on operating companies by non-pracicing entities and the rights of patent owners to monetize their patent assets.  Universities are joining the leagues of organizations that don't manufacture anything but sue for patent infringement.   The potential paydays may be too big for university patent owners to ignore.

Read the latest post here.