To be sure, all of the concerns over the patent bubble are legitimate, and as always, rational debate is beneficial to the healthy development of patent market. The lack of disclosure leads to the scarcity of data, and what comes with the scarcity are the incompleteness and obscurity, all of which lead to misinterpretation of the data and information. More importantly, misinterpretation, in turn, can lead to mispricing and market inefficiency when the misinterpreted data is applied to value patents for transaction. But is no systematic evidence to prove that NPEs behave differently than other players in the patent licensing market and patent sales market.
The agreement between AAP and Google settles a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Google on October 19, 2005 by AAP member publishers (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Pearson Education, Inc., Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Simon & Schuster, Inc.). As the settlement is between only the AAP and Google, it does not affect Google’s current litigation with the Authors Guild or otherwise address the underlying questions in that suit. According to the press release issued by AAP and Google, court approval of the settlement will not be necessary.
Not only can’t you find the relevant MPEP sections you are looking for through a Google search, but you also cannot find the relevant statutes or CFR sections using Google. For example, I typed in “35 usc 304” into Google. The first link was to the USPTO.gov website, like it almost always is. Unfortunately, however, upon clicking the link I was taken to another “Page Not Found” screen. Ultimately you can get to it by clicking on the new MPEP link provided, scrolling down to the L Appendix, clicking on the L Appendix link and then scrolling down to Section 304. Not a lot more time, but hardly as easy to find information as it was just a few days ago.
Readers did point out some issues in our article that we would like to correct. First, we made some statements regarding copyright that are not completely accurate. A work can be jointly owned by two or more copyright holders who then have the right to individually assign nonexclusive rights without the permission of the other copyright holders. This is not typically done by companies developing code, because it effectively gives away the copyrights. It is more typically done when a company accepts code developed by an outside entity. In fact, as was pointed out by one reader, Sun has an agreement called the Sun Contributor Agreement (SCA) that specifies that any person who contributes code to a Sun-managed project gives Sun joint copyright in the code. This is an interesting way for Sun to ensure that code contributed to any of its projects can be used without restriction by Sun without copyright issues.
We decided to pursue these questions using the advanced tools for detecting copyright infringement created by our sister company, Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering (SAFE Corporation) and the thorough processes that we have developed. What started off as simple curiosity turned into an interesting research and analysis project to determine if we could uncover evidence of copyright infringement that Oracle’s experts had missed. Our two-week effort turned up some very surprising results–significant amounts of apparently copied code that was not brought up at the trial.
Over recent years, online advertising has been a driving force in the growth of the Internet. As business owners, you never stop hearing about the benefits of having your own website and advertising your services on-line. I am guilty of preaching this sermon myself! However, because of the ever-increasing existence of badware, it has become increasingly difficult to know what ads or websites we can trust. Thankfully, tech giants such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal and others have joined forces with StopBadware.org and formed the Ads Integrity Alliance (AIA) in order to combat Badware, protect users from bad ads and maintain the integrity of the “online advertising ecosystem.”
In order to establish copyright infringement, a plaintiff must show: (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of the work that are original. Judge Chin concluded that no participation of the individual members would be necessary in order to establish the first prong for those who retain copyright ownership. More specifically, copyright registrations are prima facie evidence of copyright ownership and they are a matter of public record. While limited participation may be necessary for those who have assigned copyrights or licensed copyrights and continue to receive royalties, Judge Chin determined that “[r]equiring some individual members to present documentary evidence of their beneficial copyright interest would not make this case administratively inconvenient or unmanageable.”
With the advent and rise of the Internet, digital property rights have become an increasingly hot-topic in the Board rooms and Executive Offices of major companies, particularly those in the hi-tech industry. Much like the information protected under intellectual property rights, digital products provide their creators with certain protections under the law. The problems and legal challenges facing major companies like Yahoo and Facebook will help better define the laws surrounding digital property rights, and likely present opportunities as well as a whole host of new legal questions.
Commenting on the Yahoo! Inc. patent infringement lawsuit filed against Facebook in March of 2012, Mr. Cuban concludes his post by stating: “I hope Yahoo[!] is awarded $50 billion dollars. It is the only way that consumers will realize what is at stake with patent law as is. Then maybe we can get it right and further innovation and competition in this country.” These statements are from a very influential technology entrepreneur, investor and generally-recognized American business guru. Thus, it would seem that the continuous negative headlines from the smart phone patent wars are definitely giving patents a bad rap!
As most likely already know, Google has made it a tradition to create fun Google logo’s (or Doodles) to celebrate specific holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists. You may recall that on Saturday May 22, 2010, in celebration of Pacman’s 30th Anniversary, Google featured its very first interactive doodle in the form of a Pacman game you could actually play. You can read more about it in my article Pacman Celebrates its 30th Anniversary – Google Style. Yesterday Google featured another interactive doodle that they call the “Goog” this time in celebration of Dr. Robert Moog (rhymes with “vogue”), an American pioneer of music with the invention of the electronic analog Moog Synthesizer. If you missed it, that’s OK, you can still play the fully interactive “Goog” Doodle through the Google Doodle Library.
But how exactly do patents do all of these wonderful things for companies? Unlike trademarks and copyrights, patents are incredibly difficult to acquire. But a patent, once acquired, grants the holder a fairly long monopoly over their creation. No other individual or corporation can use the patent holder’s creation without negotiating a license (or some other arrangement). Thus, patent holders have a huge advantage over the competition via exclusive use or a profit from licensing. Because, the technology companies heavily market new and cutting-edge products, there is a constant need to acquire new patents to stay ahead of competitors.
The meat of the litigation revolves around patents. For decades patents have been a significant part of intellectual property law, but in recent years they have proven problematic in the development of new software and the technological innovations. Patents will now be at the heart of a cold war between two of the biggest tech companies in the world. Yahoo, which owns about 1,000 patents, is suing Facebook over 10 patent infringements ranging from Internet advertising methods and privacy controls. One of the patents is described as “optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage.” Yahoo had warned Facebook that they would sue if the social network did not agree to license the patents in question, saying that multiple other major companies had complied. Yahoo was true to their word, and called Facebook’s bluff.
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.
So who is the villain in all of these wars responsible for again giving patents a bad rap? Well, the villain in not the ITC, USPTO or any U.S. government agency. Nor it is any country’s protectionist trade regime, or an “irreparably broken” U.S. or global patent system. No, the real villains here may very well be a handful of companies that willingly contributed patented technologies to various SSOs, championing their adoption and encouraging their use in a host of consumer electronics, and now claim (years later) that the very producers they encouraged to implement these standards should be barred from making, using or importing their products into the U.S. market.
Such is the case with the newest lobby in Washington, the self-described “ITC Working Group.” You won’t learn anything about this organization by searching Google — odd, considering that Google is a member — but according to industry sources, its aim is twofold: First, it wants to block the International Trade Commission (ITC) from hearing patent infringement cases brought by “non-practicing entities” — i.e., patent holders like universities, independent inventors, and others who license their patents for manufacturers to commercialize. And second, it wants to weaken the ITC’s power to block the importation of infringing products into the U.S.