Seen and heard

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

We’re definitely in the process of restructuring, but we always have been. In my mind, that is something that is an ongoing process, especially with the way the market is going. Generally speaking, over the years we’ve been approached many times about possible acquisition of all or parts of the business, and that has happened even more frequently in the last couple of years. Am I looking at opportunities that make sense for us? Of course. It’s my job to do the due diligence and determine which of those opportunities are best for the company.

Transpacific CEO Guy Proulx on the future of the Asian non-practising entity, IAM blog, July 26

Avaya infringes multiple BlackBerry patents by using, without authorization, BlackBerry’s proprietary technology in a number of Avaya’s commercial products and services across its product lines, including unified communications products and software, networking products (such as switches and routers), communication servers and client software, telepresence systems, softphones and deskphones, and software for mobile device communications … By this action, BlackBerry seeks to put an end to Avaya’s unlawful conduct and to obtain recompense for the harm that BlackBerry has suffered.

Part of a patent infringement suit filed by BlackBerry against Avaya in the Northern District of Texas, July 27

In my whole career I have never seen that level of detail in commentary about IP and I think it’s very telling about how important it has become.

Mark Lauroesch, executive director of the IP Owners Association, comments on the IP plans detailed in Hillary Clinton’s technology and innovation platform announced as part of her presidential campaign, IAM blog, August 29

Where many European patent box programs focus on the IP assets themselves (and where they were developed), the HNTE program hones in on what the company is actually doing in China in terms of R&D investment and employment. This clearly links the benefit to the intent of the policy – to encourage investment in innovation and knowledge development for the long-term benefit of the Chinese economy.

Analysis of China’s High and New-Technology Enterprise patent box-style tax programme, undertaken by Rachel Davey and Matthew McLean of Australian law firm Griffith Hack, published on the firm’s website, August 30

What was originally a collection of interesting assets is now a focused, growing and profitable business with a strong leadership team … Given that progress, now is the right time for me to explore new opportunities to pursue my passion for building and transforming businesses. I am proud of what we have accomplished at Nokia Technologies and look forward to seeing the business continue to grow and thrive.

Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies and a member of the company’s group leadership team, announces his decision to step down from his position, August 31

There is a clear increase in the proportion of female inventors from around 2-3% during most of the first half of the 20th Century to around 6-11% since 2000. Although absolute numbers remain relatively low, the last 15 years has seen the proportion of female inventors worldwide increase over 60% (7.1% in 2001; 11.5% in 2015).

Gender Profiles in Worldwide Patenting: an Analysis of Female Inventorship, published by the UK IP Office, September 2016

The survey asked respondents to rate each office among a variety of dimensions of patent quality. We averaged the results and then compared the USPTO and EPO averages. The EPO’s scores were better than the USPTO’s in areas with positive values and the USPTO did better than the EPO in the areas where there were negative differences. Notably, the scores (on a five-point scale) were fairly close. In no dimension did any office outshine the other by more than one full point. Second, the areas in which the USPTO, according to respondents, should focus are areas in which the EPO, not surprisingly, rates better than the USPTO. Third, the USPTO is preferred to the EPO on several measures including timeliness and cost.

Professor Colleen Chien on a joint IAM/Santa Clara University School of Law survey on quality and service at the European Patent Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office, IAM blog, September 6

Our intention this year is to act based on the findings of the IP Promotion Plan 2016. We will look to set up a sub-committee to deliberate on potential measures of IP reforms going forward. To be frank, there are various views when it comes to litigation. There are objections by industry in Japan to certain proposals. For example, some of the experts stress the importance of emulating the system in the United States, where litigants can obtain triple damages in cases of wilful infringement. But Japanese industry claims that this concept will not be well received in Japan. Industries in Japan are also claiming the importance of re-examinations and administrative proceedings. Other views include scholars who say we should be examining criminal law to enhance severity of penalties, or that there should be certified means for calculating damage amounts and preserving evidence. The views on these topics are quite wide. Given that, the sub-committee’s role will be to capture all these views.

Japan Patent Office Commissioner Yoshinori Komiya, IAM blog, September 9

Samsung Electronics has reached an agreement to sell the entire global operations and assets of its printing business to HP. This transaction is part of the Company’s efforts to concentrate on its core business areas. Samsung will spin off the Printing Business Unit into a separate company as of Nov. 1 upon the approval of shareholders, and sell a 100 percent stake of the newly created company and overseas assets related to the business to HP.

Statement from Samsung confirming the $1.05 billion sale of its printer business to HP in a deal which includes the transfer of 6,500 patents to the US company, September 12

Sharp and Taiwanese parent Foxconn will set up an intellectual property management company Oct. 3 to make better use of the Japanese electronics maker’s holdings and employees. The intellectual property itself will remain in Sharp’s possession but be managed by the new Osaka-based venture, ScienBiziP Japan.

Report in the Nikkei Asian Review, September 13

Avanci will initially focus its licensing efforts on 2G, 3G and 4G cellular technologies for connected cars and smart meters with plans to quickly expand to other IoT product areas. The Avanci license for the IoT industry provides access to the entire standard-essential cellular patent portfolio these innovators, including Ericsson, Qualcomm, InterDigital, KPN and ZTE, own today, as well as any such patents that they may develop or acquire during the term of the license.

Excerpt from a press release announcing the formal launch of Avanci, the Internet of Things licensing platform being run by ex-Ericsson chief IP officer Kasim Alfalahi, September 14

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