Posts in Licensing

Patent Litigation Settlement Roundup

On November 8, 2012, Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL) announced that it, along with Famy Care Ltd., has entered into a settlement agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. that will resolve patent litigation related to Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo® Tablets, which are indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women who elect to use oral contraceptives as a method of contraception. Also on November 8, Research Affiliates, LLC and WisdomTree Investments, Inc. (NASDAQ: WETF) announced that Research Affiliates will withdraw its patent infringement lawsuit brought against WisdomTree and pay WisdomTree $700,000. On October 31, 2012, Acacia Research Corporation (Nasdaq:ACTG) announced that its subsidiaries settled patent litigation with Medtronic and Comcast Cable in unrelated cases.

Copyright Issues on the Legislative Agenda for 2012-2013

Though they are unlikely to take center stage during the truncated session before elections or the post-election lame duck session, lawmakers will have to contend with several key copyright issues during the 113th Congress. Thus, no matter who wins on November 6, IP leaders in the House and Senate are likely to use the remainder of this calendar year to set the stage for next year’s copyright agenda. The priority copyright issues for the remainder of 2012 and 2013 are: (1) Anti Piracy Initiatives; (2) Internet Issues; (3) International Agreements; (4) Music Licensing; (5) Book Licensing; and (6) TV Broadcast Issues. Each is discussed more fully below.

The Smart Phone Patent Wars: Is Government Action on the Horizon?

Last month, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives held hearings related to patent disputes, the ITC, SSOs and FRAND licensing – no doubt precipitated by the smart phone patent wars. On July 11, 2012, the full Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Impact on Competition of Exclusion Orders to Enforce Standard-Essential Patents.” Witnesses at the Senate hearing included the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A week later, on July 18, 2012, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet held a hearing entitled “The International Trade Commission and Patent Disputes.” Witnesses at the House hearing included Professor Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University School of Law, IP Counsel for Ford, VP of Litigation for Cisco, the General Counsel of Tessera Technologies, and the President of The American Antitrust Institute (AAI).

The Good Steward – Turning Federal R&D into Economic Growth

By SENATOR BIRCH BAYH — What should we say about a steward that manages billions of dollars in public research funds not aimed at finding commercial products and turns them in to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic impact while supporting millions of jobs? You would think that a sincere “thank you” was in order. But many are saying that the system producing such riches is broken. Remarkable. The Bayh-Dole Act created no new bureaucracy, costs taxpayers nothing, and decentralized technology management out of Washington. It’s widely touted as a key in turning the U.S. economy around.

Weakening the ITC’s Patent Jurisdiction Will Harm US Economy

Licensing U.S. intellectual property strengthens the economy and improves our trade balance. Section 337, the statute that regulates unfair practices in import trade, is a key element of the nation’s trade laws and ensures that American innovators, including licensing companies, will not be harmed by the importation of goods that infringe valid and enforceable U.S. patents. Importers of foreign made products – both U.S. based and foreign companies – have appealed to Congress for several changes to Section 337 that would, in effect, limit access to the ITC and/or weaken the powers of the ITC to deal with cases of unfair trade practices. Weakening the ITC’s jurisdiction would benefit foreign economies, foreign competitors, and other foreign manufacturers to the detriment of the U.S. economy.

Patent Business: Deals, Acquisitions & Licenses Vol. 1

Merck and AstraZeneca Agree to Amend Partnership – Theradiag Acquires Innovative MicroRNA Technology Platform – 8×8 Sells Patent Family – MPEG LA Announces Call for Patents Essential HEVC – International Rectifier Enters Into Patent License Agreement – Acacia Subsidiary Acquires 156 U.S. and International Patents – Acacia Subsidiary Acquires Patents for X-Ray Powder Diffraction.

University Licensing and Biotech IPRs Good for the Economy

Earlier in the week BIO also unveiled another report it commissioned and which was authored by Lori Pressman, David Roessner, Jennifer Bond, Sumiye Okubo, and Mark Planting. This report, titled Taking Stock: How Global Biotechnology Benefits from Intellectual Property Rights, discusses the role of intellectual property rights in encouraging upstream research and development as well as downstream commercialization of biotechnology. More specifically, the report outlines how intellectual property rights and technology transfer mechanisms encourage collaboration and lead to the research and development of new biotechnologies, particularly in emerging and developing economies.

IP Exchange Brings Market Principles to Patent Rights Acquisition

It is also probably correct to say that the current business model for licensing technologies is extremely inefficient, not only because of the lack of a central clearinghouse, but because many of those who would be most interested in acquiring rights to exciting new technologies are really too small to attract the interest of patent owners. Even if they are large enough to attract interest from patent owners it take real time and real money to acquire rights. You don’t simply walk into a neighborhood bodega and order the rights to X technology for Y dollars, put it into your knapsack and walk away. Negotiations are hardly standard, must take into account multiple unique scenarios and are like any other business deal — unique. That requires attorneys to get involved and we all know what happens then, right? Too frequently attorneys get in the way of doing a deal rather than facilitate one.

Will an Intellectual Property Licensing Exchange Work?

Preventing artificial supply-side constraints? Now my spidey-senses are activated. That sure has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it? I am skeptical about the desire to eliminate market inefficiencies when combined with simultaneous attempts to drive down royalty payments, thereby compensating innovators only for some perceived benefit to the ultimate consumer. The goal of the first, to reduce inefficiencies in a bilateral licensing negotiation is laudable, but minimizing the “artificial supply side constraints” based on the market as viewed by the ultimate consumer is a recipe for undervaluing innovative value-adds. And let’s not forget that some (perhaps many) of these value-adds mean the difference between having desirable functionality or not, and having a viable product or not.

The Smart Phone Patent Wars: What are FRANDs For?

In all cases, the IEEE, JEDEC, ITU and TIA policies apply to both issued patents and pending applications (regardless of whether such applications are published). Further, all four policies make clear that the SSO will not get involved in the particulars as to what constitutes FRAND licensing practices. Interestingly, and for those paying attention, the IEEE, JEDEC and ITU policies require disclosure of essential patents, whereas the TIA policy simply encourages disclosure of essential patents. Again, there simply is no generally-accepted test to determine whether a particular license offer satisfies the reasonable aspect of an SSO participant’s FRAND commitment. How does this play out in practical terms? A recent case is instructive.

The Smart Phone Patent Wars: What the FRAND is Going On?

This all came to a head when, on February 22, 2012, Microsoft Corporation filed a formal competition law complaint against Google with European Union antitrust regulators. Microsoft’s complaint was brought about because Google (i.e., Motorola Mobility) “has refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price” and “attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.” Well isn’t Google’s “maximum per-unit royalty of 2.25% of the net selling price for the relevant end product” in compliance with FRAND!? If you consider that often dozens (and sometimes, hundreds) of patents cover a single device, the answer is a resounding “no.” At 2.25% per patent, it would take only about four dozen patents before the entire selling price would be paid in royalties – an obviously absurd result.

Track One By the Numbers. What are you Waiting for?

The USPTO has returned to the historical philosophy that patent examiners should work cooperatively with patent applicants to identify allowable subject matter and issue patents on what is allowable, not just focusing on rejection after rejection after rejection. While there are quite a few positive changes, with more in the works, Track One is by far the most successful policy initiative that has come to bear during the Kappos Administration. The only problem with Track One is that more applicants are not using it! What are you waiting for? A look at the numbers shows that Track One is a huge success and ought to be employed far more than it has been.

Setting the Record Straight on the Innovatio Patent Portfolio

Ray Niro responds — There is nothing disingenuous about the licensing and enforcement of the Innovatio IP patent portfolio. Nor is this effort about “forcing quick licensing agreements” on questionable patents. The earliest of the Innovatio patents resulted from the pioneering work of Ronald Mahany and Robert Meier of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the early 1990s. Mahany and Meier are widely considered to be the “Fathers of Radio Frequency Local Area Networking Technology” – commonly referred to as wireless local area networking (“WLAN”) or “Wi-Fi.”

Are Some Patent Holders More Equal Than Others?

What’s troubling is that Hewlett Packard itself, the original startup headquartered in a garage, was one of the earliest and most-respected leaders of the 20th Century high-tech revolution that had its epicenter in Silicon Valley. It was William Hewlett who gave a 13-year-old Steve Jobs spare parts for a device Jobs was building — and a summer job as well. And it was Mr. Hewlett and his executive heirs who insisted that HP conscientiously patent its breakthrough innovations and fight against those that infringed those patents. HP today earns hundreds of millions of dollars annually by licensing its patent rights to others — according to IAM magazine, “at any one time, HP has about 150 licensing transactions in process.” And as the court dockets show, it certainly isn’t shy about filing suit against infringers who refuse to take a license.

Are Patent Wars Good for America?

In short, today’s smartphone patent wars are simply “back to the future” when it comes to how disruptive new industries are developed. Every major technological and industrial breakthrough in U.S. history — from the Industrial Revolution to the birth of the automobile and aircraft industries on up to today’s Internet and mobile communications revolutions — has been accompanied by exactly the same surge in patenting, patent trading, and patent litigation that we see today in the smartphone business. This is how the rights to breakthrough new technologies have always been distributed to those best positioned to commercialize them — to the benefit of the whole nation in terms of new jobs, new medical advances, and new products and services.

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