Posts in Business

Advocating for Ethics-Driven Regulation for Blockchain Technologies

Blockchain technology can serve as a shared database ledger that tracks assets and transactions with little to no oversight but, in theory, unlimited users. Its potential applications spanning smart contracts to blockchaining intellectual property, indicate promise for fluid collaborations, efficient remuneration and thorough intellectual property management. However, there are still crucial issues, including privacy, compatibility, liability and jurisdiction that remain undefined. Moreover, because all fields necessitate specialized codes of conduct and ethics, if blockchain technology is expected to make a significant difference in society, then it too, deserves its own field of ethics, like artificial intelligence (AI), nuclear technology, biotechnology, and space exploration. Leading minds across disciplines need to contemplate how this technology can be shaped to have a positive impact, first by examining what this field is capable of doing and its potential consequences.

Panelists Highlight Increased Capital, Importance of Foreign Patents for U.S. Patent Monetization at IPWatchdog LIVE 2022

During day one of IPWatchdog LIVE in Dallas, Texas, a panel of speakers discussing current trends and the prospects of patent monetization going forward noted that the “heyday” of patent monetization was approximately ten years ago, with several large patent awards increasing interest in patent monetization. The panelists noted two major factors which presently act as a “glass ceiling” over patent valuations. First, the inter partes review (IPR) proceedings instituted at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2012 as part of the America Invents Act (AIA) has made investment in patents a riskier proposition.

Lessons for Brand Owners from the First CCPA Financial Penalty

International cosmetics retailer Sephora has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle allegations that the company failed to cure violations of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The settlement is the first CCPA enforcement action resulting in financial penalties from the California Attorney General’s office and elucidates the Attorney General’s view of how the use of website analytics and advertising trackers involve “sales” of personal information.

Are You Bearish or Bullish on the Patent Market?

Are you bullish or bearish on the patent market as we close out 2022 and move into Q1 of 2023? That is the question I recently asked a distinguished panel of intellectual property business leaders and monetization experts. For the most part, those industry insiders who responded are bullish, although several distinguish patents and the licensing of technology and innovation. Indeed, if I were to answer my own question, I would say that given the Supreme Court’s refusal to address the obvious errors of the Federal Circuit relative to patent eligibility it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be anything other than bearish on patents as a meaningful asset class — or at least an asset class that will compensate innovators and investors for the full measure of their contributions.

High-Risk, High-Capital Investments Lead to Breakthrough Cancer Treatments

Everyone knows someone whose life has been impacted by cancer, be it a parent, a sibling, or a friend. But it is rarer, perhaps, to know a family touched by pediatric cancer. Yet, cancer is the second leading cause of death in individuals under 14, impacting nearly 10,500 children annually in the United States. Fifty years ago, a child diagnosed with cancer had a median five-year survival rate of only 58%. But, thanks to biopharmaceutical companies’ investments in discovery science, we’ve achieved medical breakthroughs that drastically improved the survival rate, with 85% of childhood cancer patients living five years or more.

Understanding ‘NNN’ Agreements in China

An “NNN” agreement is short for Non-Disclosure/Non-Use/Non-Circumvention agreement, which means the information cannot be shared with anyone, it cannot be used in any way, and “behind-the-back” or design around tactics are forbidden. In recent years, signing NNN agreements has become widely adopted and is now the standard initial step in dealings with Chinese companies, particularly original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). An NNN Agreement is much more than just a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). An NDA focuses narrowly on preventing secret information from being revealed to a third party or to the public, which is not sufficient for OEMs in China. In contrast, an NNN agreement not only contains confidentiality provisions, but also prevents misuse of confidential information.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: How Ray Young is Fighting Content Theft Encouraged by Big Tech Platforms

Ray Young started RightsLedger.com to give creators control of their content and opportunities for IP monetization, using blockchain technology to authenticate ownership. His latest venture, Milio.io, is the first social media platform to fairly share advertising revenue with users, and already has over a million users. Young spent over two years, since Dec 2019, in Manila working on the company’s launch and is focused on rewarding small and independent content creators with the ability to both protect and monetize their IP. I spoke with Young to better understand how he is helping creators to safeguard and profit from their content online.

Unleashing the Power of AI to Fight Bad Faith Trademark Registrations

Summer has been historically associated with celebrating the enactment of the Trademark Act of 1946 (the “Lanham Act”). Accordingly, Congress now annually introduces resolutions celebrating July, along with Independence, as “anti-counterfeiting awareness month.” These non-binding resolutions are an important reminder of the national importance of trademarks—and a reminder that counterfeiting, and related bad faith trademark misconduct, negatively impacts U.S. small businesses, American jobs, the U.S. economy, and erodes our international competitiveness. Increasingly, brand owners are fighting numerous trademark issues around bad faith registrations and more artful counterfeiting every day of every month. Fortunately, one important element of the solution for restoring the integrity of the register are the tools made possible by responsible artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) image recognition technology that can fight the fakes.

Report Reveals Danger of Proposed Price Fixing to U.S. Biopharma Innovation

Recently published research conducted by Vital Transformation shows legislative provisions similar to those found in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which allows the U.S. Government to “negotiate” drug prices under a set framework based upon the amount of time a drug has spent on the market, would have significant, negative effects on patient access to new therapies because funding would be severely curtailed for research and development. According to Vital Transformation, the reduction of net earnings due to government price fixing would substantially reduce the amount of research and development of small biotech firms, which would negatively impact future drug discovery and development. The model used in the study estimates that with government price fixing “only 6 of 110 previously approved therapies would be considered ‘not at risk’ of being cancelled, or at very least divested.”

The Artificial Distinction Between Trade Secrets and ‘Confidential Information’

One of the most frustrating questions I get from clients asks “what is the difference between ‘confidential’ and ‘proprietary’ information?” Or, “how do I help employees distinguish between either of those terms and real ‘trade secrets?’” Then there are people, including some judges, who trivialize the importance of some useful business information by saying it doesn’t “rise to the level of a trade secret.” That last one makes no sense these days, as we’ll see shortly. But first let’s identify the source of this nomenclature problem: it’s an outfit you’ve probably never heard of called the American Law Institute.

IP Issues for Retail Businesses Advertising in Augmented Reality

With the advent of augmented reality systems, unique opportunities exist for retail businesses. The ability to provide dynamic and layered advertisements can add a new dimension and effectiveness to attracting consumers to a brick-and-mortar retail location. However, a number of intellectual property pitfalls appear to be awaiting those retailers that utilize the emerging augmented reality platform to reach and attract customers. For instance, a retailer may find that they do not own the exclusive rights to display augmented reality content to customers despite the customers being physically present in their own store.

Big Awards Underscore Importance of Bolstering Your Company’s Trade Secrets Protocols

Corporate espionage is as old as the day is long. The modern digital world has made it easier than ever to gain access to sensitive “secret sauce”, such as software, customer and vendor lists, business methods, techniques, formulas and recipes. With a significant shift to a remote working environment and the relative ease of employee portability, protecting and defending confidential information and trade secrets must be at the top of the priority list for any organization. In May 2022, in Appian v. Pegasystems, a jury awarded likely the largest sum in the history of Virginia state court proceedings, finding that Pegasystems was liable for $2 billion-plus in damages to Appian for planting a corporate spy at Appian for over 10 years…. While the facts of the Appian case are not particularly unusual, the measure of damages is quite stunning.

Ten Reasons Companies Need to Stay on Top of Recent Patent Trends

A company’s knowledge of IP trends and its own internal IP strategy is crucial to a wide range of issues the company may face—including litigation, business expansion, and retaining its talent. Being prepared for IP issues your company may face externally, as well as developing a strategic plan internally for your company’s IP portfolio, will better position your organization on multiple fronts. Below are 10 reasons your company should pay attention to these IP trends.

Facebook Accused of ‘Eviscerating’ Small Tech Business’s META Marks

A small business owner is suing Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook (Facebook), accusing the internet giant of “brazenly violating fundamental intellectual property rights enshrined in U.S. law to obliterate a small business.” METAx, LLC (Meta) was founded in 2010 by Justin “JB” Bolognino, who is described in the complaint filed in the U.S. District court for the Southern District of New York, as a respected figure in the virtual creator community and “a true pioneer of the industry involving immersive and experiential technologies, including augmented reality (“AR”), virtual reality (“VR”), and extended reality (“XR”).” Meta has continuously used the term “META” as part of a composite mark, and has been commonly referred to as Meta in trade and commerce, since 2010.

A License to Steal IP: What Partnering with China Really Means for Businesses

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help,” said President Ronald Reagan during a press conference on August 12, 1986. This is one of President Reagan’s most often quoted quips, and for a reason. The Government can certainly help people in times of need, but it can also be a scary bureaucracy, particularly when it shows up unannounced and uninvited. Fast forward 31 years and the 12 most terrifying words in the English language for any business should be: “I’m from China, and my company would like to partner with yours.”