Time for sharp competitive intelligence

Archive for September, 2007

ICT industry misunderstands patents – 17 September 2007

The South African ICT industry is misreading the Patents Act, and this is costing it money, says Spoor & Fisher patent attorney Chris de Villiers. He says it is commonly wrongly asserted that software can generally not be patented and must be protected under the Copyright Act. “This view is widely held, but is based on a misunderstanding of the South African Patents Act, which has very similar wording to the European and UK legislation on this point.” He adds that, in the absence of any South African case law, “we have to be guided by the experience of these countries, where software inventions having ‘technical character’ or giving rise to a ‘technical effect’ are in fact patentable”. De Villiers says South African software innovators who want to protect their technology would be foolish not to apply for patents in the current scenario.

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Using patent indicators to understand innovation and growth

Top & hot 15 market places where US seeks protection for its patents.

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IP activity by India both residential and non-residential.

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Liberty Media Unit Wins $45.3M in Patent Infringement Suit Vs Andrew Corp. – 17 September 2007

TruePosition Inc., a maker of technology used for medical alert, criminal tracking and other applications was awarded $45.3 million in damages in a trial of a patent-infringement lawsuit that ended Friday. TruePosition alleged in its lawsuit that communications equipment maker Andrew Corp. infringed on a patent dealing with a method of locating wireless phones. The jury found for the Berwyn, Pa.-based subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp. on all counts in the trial, which took place in U.S. District Court in Delaware. The jury also ruled Westchester, Ill.-based Andrew intentionally infringed on the patent, which could allow the judge to treble the damages. Andrew said it will fight to have the verdict overturned, either at the trial-court level or on appeal. TruePosition alleged in its lawsuit that Andrew infringed on a patent dealing with a method of locating wireless phones.

Recent patent infringement awards have been staggering

  • $125 million for a cookie recipe “Proctor & Gamble v. Nabisco”
  • $205 million for the design of a rock drive bit “Smith Industries v. Hughes Tool”
  • $873 million for the rights to an instant camera “Polaroid v. Kodak”
  • $56 million for an antibiotic “Pfizer v. International Rectifier”
  • $44 million for a blood oxygenator “Pfizer v. American Hospital Supply”

Other decisions of note include:

  • “Alpex Computer Corporation was awarded $208 million in Alpex Computer Corporation v. Nintendo America, Inc. for infringement of Alpex video game graphics patents,” Los Angeles Times
  • “Texas Instruments formed licensing agreements with 26 semiconductor companies since 1989 and reports it has more than tripled its royalties. The company’s 1993 royalties on its patents reached $521 million,” Electronic News
  • “In a February 1994 ruling, Microsoft Corporation ordered to pay Stac Electronics $120 million in patent infringement lawsuit, Stac electronics v. Microsoft, for disk compression software,” Info Canada
  • “The cost of IBM’s patent license agreement royalty payments for disk drive patents adds $100 to $150 to the price of a computer,” PC Week

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