Monday, January 31, 2011

MIT Technology Licensing Office

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a private research institute in USA, is regarded as one of the most active technology transfer office in USA and possibly the world. The Institute shares their success story with an faq located here.

Excerpts of the FAQ

What was your revenue for FY 2010?
Gross Revenue $76.2 M
Royalties $60.1 M
Patent Reimbursement $8.8 M
Equity Cash-In $1.1 M

Do you file foreign patents?
We attempt to preserve foreign filing rights by filing the initial U.S. patent, whenever possible, before the first public disclosure. More than half of our U.S. filings are followed up with an international PCT filing. Later foreign patent prosecution is dependent upon the licensing situation.

What share of royalties do inventors get? How much money was distributed to inventors last year?
Inventors share one-third of royalties after deduction of a 15% administration fee and any unreimbursed patent expenses. Over 19 million dollars were distributed to inventors.

What is the background of your licensing officers?
Most have technical backgrounds (often engineering) and have spent a dozen or more years in industry. Most have worked in product development, marketing and/or business development and understand the process of bringing new technology to market. Some also have Ph.D.'s, some M.B.A.'s, and some legal backgrounds. All are problem solvers with excellent communication skills and are good negotiators.

What functions are performed by your licensing officers?
Each officer manages individual "cases" from beginning to end, including: evaluation of invention disclosures, management of literature searches, market assessment, decisions on patent filing, managing of outside attorneys on patent prosecution, marketing of the technology to potential licensees, negotiation of license agreements, and monitoring of licensee performance.

Can any university do it?
Yes. Start with outstanding people; clear, articulated policies; and a streamlined process. To get started, however, you will also need a sum of money to invest in filing patents and building a portfolio. Do not expect to break even for five years or more.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thomson Reuters IP analysis projects China annual patent volume to surpass Japan and U.S. by 2011

China is projected to lead in patent activity by 2011, according to a detailed intellectual property analysis published today by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. The study, Patented in China II: The Present and Future State of Innovation in China, tracks global patent activity as a barometer for innovation across dozens of metrics to provide a view into China’s innovation economy.

This second edition of the Thomson Reuters study suggests that patent filings in China will outpace Japan and the U.S. in 2011, one year earlier than was forecast when the first edition of the study was published in 2008. The projected growth in Chinese patent activity is based on analysis of the total volume of first-patent filings in China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the U.S. China experienced an annual growth rate of 26.1 percent in total patent volume from 2003-2009, as compared to its closest rival, the U.S., with a 5.5 percent growth rate.

Beyond projected patent growth, the study also examines the composition of patents from China relative to its peer group globally, domestic vs. foreign patent applications, patent technology areas, government/policy implications, and patent quality vs. quantity. Following are some of the key observations in the analysis:

* Expansion through Patents: While innovation by domestic entities is driving China’s patent boom, China is also expanding its IP protection overseas. From 2007-2008, the growth rate of China’s overseas patent fillings in Europe, Japan and the U.S. were 33.5 percent, 15.9 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.
* Chinese Government Is Driving Innovation: Government innovation incentives, R&D tax deductions, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s commitment to make China an innovation-centered economy, and unique patent types (such as utility models) contribute to China’s acceleration to the top innovator spot.
* Shift from Agriculture to High Tech: As the Chinese economic landscape changes, a major shift is occurring in patent filings: agri-centered innovation related to food production is growing much more slowly than high-technology innovation. There was a 4,861 percent increase in domestic Chinese patent applications in digital computers in the decade from 1998 to 2008, versus a much more modest increase of 552 percent in natural products and polymers for that same period.
* Alternative IP Rights in China – Utility Model Patents: Approximately half of all Chinese patents filed in 2009 were utility models, which are less-rigorous, more-affordable forms of patents that provide 10 years of protection (versus 20 years for invention patents). The use of utility model patents in China has grown at a rate of 18 percent per annum since 2001. Utility models are also a potentially valuable strategy for foreign filings in China.
* Patent Quality Improving: Despite the growing use of utility model patents, Chinese patent quality is slowly improving based on the Thomson Reuters analysis. By tracking the ratio of patent applications to granted patents among full invention patents in China, the analysis finds that patent quality is trending up.

The data in this report was compiled using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPISM) database, the most trusted source of global patent information with expertly-indexed records, enhanced titles and comprehensive abstracts, enabling deeper insight into patent research. - Thomson Reuters

Monday, January 10, 2011

Microsoft Loses in Uniloc Appeal, Gets Reappraisal For Damages

Microsoft Corp. has lost in an appeal against the overturning of a $388 million verdict in a patent case filed by Uniloc USA Inc. and Uniloc Singapore Private Ltd.
The appeals court reinstated the decision in favor of the companies.

However, it called for new trials to assess the amount of damages that the software giant will have to pay for the patent infringement.

The court said that the $388 million verdict was “fundamentally tainted by the use of a legally inadequate methodology.”

Uniloc has accused Microsoft of infringing its intellectual property concerning technology used in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system and some programs in its Microsoft Office suite used to deter piracy.

The patent that the companies allege Microsoft of infringing belongs to Uniloc Singapore Private Ltd. and is exclusively licensed to Uniloc USA Inc.

The case, which says that Microsoft infringed on a patent filed by Uniloc’s Ric Richardson, has been first filed by Uniloc on 2003. - Social Barrel

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 7 Luxury Brands

For 2010, there are 7 luxury brands that make it to the top 100 brands, evaluated by Interbrand. The rankings sorted according to brand value (USD billion):

1. Louis Vutton (21.9)
2. Gucci (8.3)
3. Hermes (4.8)
4. Tiffany & Co (4.1)
5. Cartier (4.1)
6. Georgio Armani (3.4)
7. Burberry (3.1)

Brand evaluation is based on earnings forecast. I was in Paris last October, and queued for 40 minutes to get into LV boutique. I was told that tourist can only make a single purchase as there are limited stocks available so that every visitor can leave Paris with a souvenir of LV.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Top 10 Automotive Brands

For 2010, there are 10 automotive brands that make it to the top 100 brands, evaluated by Interbrand. The rankings sorted according to brand value (USD billion):

1. Toyota (26.2)
2. Mercedes-Benz (25.2)
3. BMW (22.3)
4. Honda (18.5)
5. Ford (7.2)
6. Volkswagon (6.9)
7. Audi (5.5)
8. Hyundai (5.0)
9. Porsche (4.4)
10. Ferrari (3.6)

No surprise that the number one and number two luxury car in Malaysia is Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The top selling non-national brand is Toyota and Honda. Brand evaluation is based on earnings forecast.