We have now reached a delicate juncture in time where the world is rapidly diverging down two roads: countries where the COVID landscape is improving (US, some Asian countries, Israel, Australia, New-Zealand, etc.) and those that are deteriorating before our eyes like India and Brazil, as new variants are winning the race against vaccine deployment rates. Thus far, those vaccines by the way have proven to be effective at much higher rates than initially touted (closer to 99% efficacy). To be honest, I will never really understand the antivax narrative, especially when their strongest proponents regurgitate nonsense riddled with conspiracy theories about implanted 5G chips and the like… In the meantime, the desperation among those facing yet another tsunami of cases with little to no access to a lifesaving vaccine all while millions of vials of these drugs sit rotting in freezers elsewhere, is the definition of privilege and heartbreak.
We now have enough available data to see the forest through the trees and there should be no excuse to remain part of the problem. Which is a great segue to today’s main column below…
Tangible IP News
Just a few weeks ago, we announced the closing of a patent portfolio in the cyber security and encryption area. We also just announced earlier this week the sale of a larger portfolio originating from Nokia and pertaining to video codecs. Even in a challenging environment where most operating companies are staying on the sidelines, we have found new creative ways to monetize our clients’ patent assets.
As we indicated in our last issue, we are letting our readers know the areas where we have buyers willing and ready to acquire patents – this does not necessarily mean we have a buyside engagement so please keep this in mind. Our VP of Brokerage, Erika Warner is the point of contact for portfolios that may match these criteria. You can also reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently, we have strong interest from buyers in the following technology areas
- Smart Building patents including smart grid-related assets
- Digital Marketing patents (ex: e-coupons, multichannel marketing)
- Advertising in general
- Central Processing Unit (CPU) Chip patents
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chips patents
- Wi-Fi Patents – specifically 802.11
As usual, as I focus on the macro picture in this newsletter, I want to remind everyone that we track everything that is going on in this world and for those who need their regular dose of news, once again you can follow me on either LinkedIn or Twitter where I post almost daily about some of the most newsworthy events.
It’s Spring, the Perfect Time to do Some Landscaping!
As we alluded in the introduction above, having the full picture of a situation generally allows for proper planning and decision making. Too frequently, the raw data can be overwhelming, noise in many cases, that prevents us from viewing the buildable landscape. You would not build a flat house on a steep hill side, right?
Do you have a clear understanding of the intellectual property landscape surrounding your technology, including the key players, industry growth projections, technology trends and what the main patent owners in your space are doing? Before engaging in new R&D, design projects or exploring new tech verticals, every business needs to understand its position in the surrounding IP landscape and its “invention gap”. This strategic business intelligence allows businesses to avoid spending scarce resources reinventing the wheel while also identifying “white space” opportunities from a patent perspective. These “white spaces” create long-term leverage through broad IP protection that can later be used as a deterrent, a bargaining chip against competitors, or simply as a valuable asset to convert into cash via a sale or licensing program.
Think of all the intelligence failures where it turned out the information was available in theory, but no one could see it hidden under the pile. September 11 anyone? Now visualize a landscape study as your own presidential briefing, informing you on threats and opportunities, without getting bogged down in the minutia that sometimes masks the most important pieces of information. Or, if presidential briefings aren’t your taste, consider a landscape study as your own private library in your relevant technical domain. Precious highlights include: whom is doing what, what kind of R&D activities your competitors are focusing on, how it translates into enforceable IP rights, what this means for your company, where you can obtain the most bang for every buck you spend in research and development and understanding the technology areas where the same patent you file for instance will have much more strategic value, etc.
While it is never too late to conduct such a landscape study, be sure, it is never too early either! When I was at Microsoft, we would systematically conduct such a landscape analysis before entering a new market segment, especially when more vulnerable from an IP standpoint. This allowed us to understand early in the process who was leading the field, who was losing steam, identify potential players to partner with or to acquire, who could come after us with their patents and how to preempt this, or at least have something to throw back at them should they do so, etc. But you do not have to be a Fortune 500 to benefit from this. Even startups and SMEs can greatly benefit from such information. For instance, we routinely conduct such projects for smaller organizations where they extract a ton of value from the report we provide. With precious few dollars to spend on R&D and IP creation, they cannot afford to lose any or spend energies on the wrong projects.
A well conducted landscape study will look at hundreds and sometimes thousands of patents (issued and pending), as well as all non-patent literature worldwide, providing a comprehensive set of documents and analysis that puts business owners back in the driver seat, giving them the tools to make educated decisions based on real data – such as areas of intense patenting activities, current trends, key players, etc. They also provide fantastic data for current and future patent filings by drilling down to the core novel elements of an invention while providing meaningful background to patent examiners. These elements are often considered the basis for developing a stronger and more strategic patent portfolio.
You see all those trees over there in the landscape? You are looking at the forest now!