Time for sharp competitive intelligence

Archive for October, 2007

Local company wins millions in patent dispute

A small family-run company took on a sports giant and won.
Baden Sports sued Molten Corp. for stealing its basketball manufacturing innovation and marketing it as its own. Baden Sports say the ball lining process, which it calls Cushion Control Technology, gives the ball a better bounce and the player more control. A judge ordered Molten to pay $8.1 million after a jury found that the company had infringed on Baden’s patent and falsely advertised its basketballs.

“There was no doubt in our mind that we were going to win, but the size we won, that was a big surprise,” said Baden spokesman Dave Wise.

The judge also ruled that any balls with the stolen technology can’t be used in games broadcast in the U.S. Molten is the official basketball used in the Olympics, but it’s not clear what impact the ruling will have on its use in the games.


CEOs neglect patent portfolios

High tech CEOs are failing to manage their companies’ intellectual property portfolios properly at a time when that business is increasingly about building collaborative relationships and less about selling patents for revenue. That was the view of Marshall Phelps, senior vice president of intellectual property at Microsoft Corp. in a keynote at the annual Licensing Executive Society meeting Monday
Phelps said:
1. IP is not centrally managed in most high tech companies, but it needs to be.
2. You either believe you are in a knowledge economy or not, and if you don’t you have no business being a leader in a high tech company, he told the audience of some 1,200 lawyers and business managers.
3. Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio – Phelps ran IBM’s IP business before joining Microsoft four years ago.
4. Most turn that work over to an IP counsel and only pay attention to it when they become involved in litigation.

The purpose of IP programs is to spawn collaborative relationships not amass patents and sell them, according to Phelps. The vast majority of companies can not do what IBM did nor should they even try. Many companies see patents as a way to keep competitors from entering a market. A better view is looking at the company’s know how as a way to open the door to co-development deals that expand markets—even for traditional competitors.

IBM’s biggest licensing deals involved sharing its novel copper interconnect technology with Motorola and Intel, deals Phelps suggested were worth nearly $3 billion.

Rise in foreign patent filings in the U.S. noted

Foreign nationals residing in the United States are steadily making greater contributions to the country’s intellectual property, stirring concern about maintaining the country’s competitiveness and the debate over whether to relax U.S. immigration policy.

Foreign nationals were named in more than half of international patent applications filed from the United States by large corporations. Those include Qualcomm, at 72 percent; Merck, at 65 percent; General Electric, at 64 percent; Siemens, at 63 percent; and Cisco, at 60 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, foreign nationals were named on 6 percent of General Motors’ patent applications and only 3 percent of Microsoft’s. The U.S. government is among those that benefit from foreign nationals’ brainpower. Some 41 percent of its patent applications list foreign nationals as inventors or co-inventors.

India lags in patent race

India may be seen as a global hub for innovation, but multinational corporations have filed more patents in India over the past decade than all of India’s public and private institutions.

Among the top 50 applicants for patents in India, 44 were foreign firms. Only six were Indian — among these, three were public institutions, one was a public corporation, and just two were private Indian firms, both in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the defence ministry were the two Indian public agencies with the highest number of patents in India, followed by the Steel Authority of India. The two private companies in the top 50 patent applicants are Ranbaxy and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

Overall, India appears better at producing basic knowledge than commercialising knowledge. But India has low research and development costs — primarily because of low pay to scientists and engineers, the main cost component of research spending according to the report.

Although termed as the knowledge hub providing valuable human resource to the world, when it comes to Research and Development (R&D) at the domestic level, India lags behind developing countries like China, Brazil and for that matter even with Republic of Korea and Mexico.

Can we call it as the begning of Indian auto industry techno battle?

Indian pharma industry has gain and done well paying with intelligent stuff (Patent). The global presence of Indian pharma industry is the result of serious patenting activity. Indian pharma is totally out to slavery of foreign technology due to the fact of IP. This time the patent spark has erupted in Indian auto industry between Bajaj auto and TVS, when Bajaj Auto said TVS Motor’s soon-to-launch Flame motorcycle copies its patented digital twin spark ignition (DTSi) technology.

Now it’s time to wait and watch if Indian auto industry is really gearing up for technology battles.

China’s patent applications exceed 268,000 in first half of’07

China has received 268,926 patent applications in the first six months of this year, up 7.3 per cent from the corresponding period last year. These patent applications involved inventions, utility models and designs, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) .

According to statistics, patent applications in China had exceeded three million by the end of June, 2006.
China had received more than 4.98 million applications for registering trade marks by the end of 2006, with the number of registered trade marks exceeding 2.77 million.

Currently, China has more than 600 patent agent organisations. The Patent and Trademark Law Office under the CCPIT remains the largest agency authorised to manage overseas-related intellectual property.

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