Thursday, October 18, 2007

Community Projects vs Private Projects

Apache is one of the greatest product by community projects. It is a web server program contributed by programmers who collaborated in a community board to build a reliable and stable web server. Anyone can modify and improve the codes of the program. Programmers voluntarily contributed codes to the program. It started the open source revolution. Are open source a boon or bane to the development of technology? I believe both community projects and private projects have its own merit. Private projects are important because it fosters entrepreneurship and employment. Community projects are important because it allows people of similar interest to collaborate and contribute to the community.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

IP from National Projects; MP3 from Germany

If a breakthrough is found, who will own the IP? IP of national projects were discussed in the AIPPI forum. Cases from Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Singapore were presented. Each country is distinctive with considerations for national interest, project initiator and inventors rewards. Do you know that MP3 is a result of one of Germany's national project?

The coding of MP3 is owned by Alcatel-Lucent and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. In Aug 7, 2007 a federal judge reverses a USD1.5 billion judgement against Microsoft for including MP3 coding in Windows Media Player. The decision seems to ease fears on other MP3 provider such as Apple and RealNewtworks.

First Malaysian in Space; to conduct Medical Experiments

Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft was launched in Kazakhstan last night at 9.21pm Malaysian time. The honour of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, an orthopedic surgeon, being the first Malaysian to be in space is well received in Malaysia. He is scheduled to perform medical experiments in space. He will conduct research which can lead to significant short- and long-term advances in many fields such as:

Cells in space: To study the effects of microgravity and space radiation on cancer cells with the aim of learning more about cell behaviour and activity, and tissue repair;

Microbes in space: To study the effects of microgravity and space radiation on bacterial growth, drug resistance and the genetic mechanisms controlling them; and

Protein crystallisation in space: To crystallise two proteins to study their molecular structures, and obtain new information for future industrial applications.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

At last... Patent MY131072A

At last... patent MY131072A with my name on it as an inventor. My first attempt as an inventor. The application was filed in 1 Nov 2002. I was a researcher (employee) so I have to assign it to my employer. I learnt about patents and that is how I got myself involved in the patent industry. Later, I was head hunted by a patent lawyer to draft patent specifications. Since than I never look back having patents running in my blood and brains.

Hit by Computer Programs

I am constantly asked to prepare patent specifications for computer program. Our patent regulations follow the EPO's recommendation which allows computer programs to be patentable if it achieves a technical effect. I refer the US MPEP for computer program and it has a detailed explanation and classification showing the type of computer programs which are patentable. Allow me to summarize my interpretation in my own words. A computer program is patentable if it describes an UNKNOWN process to solve a technical problem. I highlight the UNKNOWN to my clients because computer programs are usually written with known process. The act of turning a known manual process into a software does not make the computer program patentable. For example, known mathematical models turned into software are not patentable even if it solves a problem. However, if an UNKNOWN model is disclosed than the process will be patentable. A classic patent for computer programs will be Dell's patent which enable online ordering of customized personal computer.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Patent Filings in Malaysia

Singapore is known to be a top patent filing destination after Japan, Korea, China and India. In the AIPPI Forum, I promoted Malaysia (MY) as a popular national phase filing destination. I highlighted the following points in my discussion:
- MY is a PCT member
- MY acccepts English application as offiial language. Hence, no translation is needed
- MY acknowledges search report of US, AU, EPO, JP, and KR granted patent. The MY application can be fast tracked to grant.
- MY court widely uses English as official language
- MY has a one year grace period for novelty. Does not practice absolute novelty.
- MY economy lies in the following industries: electrical and electronics, rubber, palm oil, automotive, petroleum and plastics.
- MY has a population of 27 million

AIPPI Forum 2007

Phew.. Just return from Singapore after attending AIPPI forum, an international forum for IP practitioners. This is the first time I'm attending such an event. I was overwhelmed by the number of delegates, more than 400 people from all over the world. I made friends with delegates from USA, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Brazil, and ... the list goes on and on. It is a mind blowing experience for me to exchange name cards for the past three days until I run out of name cards... arrgh! I'm lucky to be able to attend this event due to the short traveling distance between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Congratulations to Singapore for successfully hosting the event. Some of the delegates expressed that this is the first time they are traveling to Asia. Some delegates manage to squeeze a short vacation in Malaysia. Hope to see you guys again next year in Boston for AIPPI Congress. Will update on what I learned from the event later.