Seen and heard

A round-up of IP-related quotes, observations and opinions from the recent past …

Thank you Tesla for opening up your patents.

Slogan that formed the backdrop to the launch of the Youxia X, an electric car made in Shanghai by Chinese company Youxia, July 26

This is about the dynamics of the entire system; and a system with no rules has no future, and a system where the rules are totally ambiguous has no future… If you have an entire policy which is a kind of assurance for the participants in the system, and this entire policy is based on one notion, and this notion is totally undefined, then you have a problem.

Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association, explains the introduction of its controversial new patent policy, IAM blog, August 4

We know that there has been some success at Uniloc in spinning out and developing products. They have spun out two different companies. We at Marathon have looked at opportunities in what we call the commercialisation space where there is a set of assets and maybe a team of executives that can actually build and commercialise the IP into a product. And so as we move forward, we will look at some of those opportunities and some of those might make sense to bring in-house as a wholly owned subsidiary within the combined company, only to be spun out later.

Doug Croxall, CEO of Marathon Patent Group, talks to analysts following the firm’s merger with fellow non-practising entity (NPE) Uniloc, August 17

In 2014, ZTE hired several research and development teams from BlackBerry, including interactivity, security and design teams. These hires strengthened ZTE’s technological innovation and patent accumulation, especially in the areas of man-machine communication and security technology.

Extract from a press release issued by ZTE announcing applications for 50 “core patents” covering the company’s Axon phone, August 20

We welcome the KFTC’s decision closing its review of our transaction with Nokia and we appreciate the professionalism shown by KFTC during this process. It has never been Microsoft’s intention to change its existing patent licensing policies as a result of this transaction and we are pleased to have resolved the issue by agreeing to keep our licensing rates at present levels.

A Microsoft spokesperson comments on the Korean Fair Trade Commission’s approval of the company’s acquisition of the Nokia mobile devices and services unit, IAM blog, August 28

Nokia is pleased with the decision of the Korean FTC in its investigation into the sale of our devices and services business to Microsoft. We cooperated fully with the investigation and are glad that the KFTC has supported our view that there was no reason for it to impose any conditions on us as the seller in this transaction. Nokia’s licensing practices have been reviewed by authorities around the world; none has ever asked for changes to be made and we have agreed licences with more than 80 companies on wireless standard-essential patents, for which our commitments made to license on FRAND terms remain in force. This was the last remaining regulatory review of the transaction and so with this decision it is now fully cleared around the world

Nokia comments on the Korean Fair Trade Commission’s decision to approve the sale of its mobile devices and services unit to Microsoft, IAM blog, August 28

The stock price has been so compressed and I truly believe that this is a company that made a material impact on the mobile internet … Unwired Planet was founded with the vision of bringing the ‘internet-in-your-pocket’ to the world and was the first to put an internet browser into a phone, signing a deal with AT&T in 1996. Many of these patents disclose and protect the foundational aspects of today’s most widely used mobile technologies, such as mobile internet, location-based services and e-commerce applications. Openwave did not get the credit for their contribution to the industry and deserves to get something for their work.

Boris Teksler, the recently appointed CEO of Unwired Planet, explains his decision to join the NPE, IAM blog, September 1

Concerns about patent quality and the need for claims that provide clear notice of the metes and bounds of the property right are reasonable, but they apply equally to inventions in all areas of technology. And Congress has created new and important tools to improve patent quality.

Ultimately, the arguments given by critics of “software patents” (an inartful term, since patents are not issued for software code, but rather for the invention implemented by software) are simply unpersuasive. Software-related patents have led to tremendous growth in the software industry, they are fostering open innovation and interoperability, and they are incentivizing inventive solutions to unique problems. In short: patents on software-implemented inventions are accomplishing the constitutional imperative to promote progress in the useful arts.

Excerpt from executive summary of At the Core of America’s Competitive Edge: Why Software-Implemented Inventions Are – and Must Remain – Patent Eligible, a paper written by former US Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos and former Senate Judiciary Committee Chief IP Counsel Aaron Cooper, September 4

At a high level, we have found that the technology and automotive industries have fared well in the early days of the post-Alice Corp. era. The companies in these sectors that we reviewed all experienced an increase in issuances for software and business methods patents in the six months following the Alice Corp. decision, versus the first half of 2014. On the other hand, the financial services sector overall saw a slight decrease in the number of issuances of the same.

Excerpt from “Software Patents Are Resilient in the Wake of Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank”, research published on the Patent Vue blog by Envision IP, September 9

My decision is a personal one. I tend to like to do a job for about a decade and then crave a change. This is really my third decade-long job and as I enter my mid-50s, I want to make sure I have time to try a few other things that interest me while I am healthy and young enough to do them. I will continue to keep an oar on the water, though, in the IP area and will be open to limited opportunities where I think I can help. I will also continue as a board member at WiLAN, but will leave the 24/7 grind of running the company to someone else. As a general rule, I have always believed that it is healthy for occasional renewal at the top in politics and the same probably applies to running a public company like WiLAN.

WiLAN CEO Jim Skippen on his decision to stand down from his position, IAM blog, September 11

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