Bruce Berman is the CEO of Brody Berman Associates, a management consulting and strategic communications firm he founded in 1988. He has supported 200+ IP-focused businesses, portfolios and executives, as well as law firms and their clients. Bruce is responsible for five books, including From Ideas to Assets (Wiley) and, since 2003, approximately 100 columns for IAM magazine. He also has written on IP for publications such as Nature Biotechnology and Forbes. His weekly observations about trends can be seen on IP CloseUp. In 2016, Bruce founded the the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding, an independent non-profit that raises awareness and provides outreach to improve IP literacy, promote sharing and deter theft.
Bruce is also the host of CIPU’s podcast Understanding IP Matters, which explores the intellectual property story of people who have succeeded in the world of invention, creative expression, and brand – some with the scars to prove it. ‘Understanding IP Matters’ looks at the journey from creator to entrepreneur.
The research lab behind the viral ChatGPT chatbot, OpenAI, is in talks to sell existing shares in a tender offer that would value the company at around $29 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, reported the Wall Street Journal on January 5. This would make OpenAI, which started life as a nonprofit and generates virtually no revenue, one of the most valuable U.S. startups. Chatbots have captured the imagination of users and investors alike. They provide fast, succinct, and outwardly accurate responses to detailed questions well beyond the capabilities of Alexa, Siri and Google search. Those queries might include providing the foundation for writing an article, like the one you are currently reading, in the style of IPWatchdog.
Copyrights are the most widely held form of intellectual property. They are also the most infringed. Many creators are unaware their rights even exist or how they can be used. Most do not have a clue how they impact commerce and society. A range of creators and copyright holders, from high school students to Warner Media to Beyonce, individuals and businesses, have generated a cornucopia of content, fueled by faster digital processing and virtually unlimited storage. In theory, most of it is protected under copyright law. Most people, and many businesses, have been known to infringe them, no matter their value, often with impunity. Earlier this year, the U.S. Copyright Office established a small claims system for copyright to slow infringement and prevent rightful owners, small and large, from being routinely ripped off.
Creative destruction, once a hallmark of progressive capitalism, is no longer working. Powerful companies that control software and silo valuable data are impeding innovation and threatening society. That is the conclusion of a recently published book, The New Goliaths: How Corporations Use Software to Dominate Industries, Kill Innovation, and Undermine Regulation. The author, James Bessen, vilifies the impact of software ownership and the ability of patents and other rights to effectively promote innovation and encourage competition.
The rise in the value of crypto currencies in just three years to $3 trillion is vexing to businesses, investors and IP professionals who are struggling to understanding where they fit in. The ascendance of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as an asset class also has caught practically everyone off-guard. Many intellectual property owners believe that these blockchain-based disruptions have created opportunity, while others see a darker and more impermeant scenario. People want to know if NFTs and distributed ledgers are good for IP rights and creators – a self-proclaimed boon to innovation and access – or are they a passing storm?
A new crime drama, The Billion Dollar Code, is a fascinating breakthrough mini-series that illustrates the legal challenges of inventions and inventors in a world where technology giants can refuse to acknowledge the source of ideas they do not control. The popular four-part Netflix mini-series achieves uncanny success not only in depicting an epic legal battle but doing it over four plus hours in German with subtitles and an abundance of algorithm detail and trial preparation. It is reminiscent of Chernobyl, HBO’s award-winning series that turned the complex series of events and failures, both technical and human, leading to a nuclear core meltdown into award-winning entertainment.
From the perspective of the Intangible Investor, 2022 will be a year of new opportunities and transitional growth. IP business models will evolve, and risk and return calculations will become more reliable. In the decade since the America Invents Act (AIA) was enacted, patent licensing challenges have increased for many technology companies and independent inventors. The neutering of software, e-commerce and algorithm patents are at least partly responsible but, amazingly, software-related patents represent almost two-thirds of U.S. grants for the first half of 2021.
Director Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 Pulp Fiction, considered among the most influential films in modern history, has emerged as a test case of sorts for issuing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that relate to a copyright-protected work. The NFTs are being sold independent of Miramax, the producer and owner of the rights to the film, who says its ownership rights are being violated. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California last week, also accused Tarantino of breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition, according to court documents.
Millions of content creators hoping to establish a cash machine on platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram are learning that it takes more than lively moves and thousands of followers to be taken seriously. They are also discovering that not all creators are created equal, even when they are the source. Content on TikTok and other social media platforms is theoretically copyrightable. In practice, however, the IP rights of social media creators today are less clear. Work generated by lesser known creators, especially if they are young and Black, is being stolen with little apparent recourse.