Florian Müller has a good post on the effects of the smartphone war. A few years ago all the mobile companies began suing each other to gain some darwinistic advantage and be the strongest to survive.
The result of these patent litigations are…nothing. Smartphone sales are up and nobody is stopping anybody. As Florian is stating in his post “Based on where things stand now, more than 90% of 222 smartphone patent infringement assertions by major players against other large organizations have gone nowhere, with 109 assertions (49%) having failed (so far) and 93 assertions (42%) having been dropped”
So basically the war in the trenches is only bleeding money from the big companies and not achieving anything…

Under the parole ’Meet the authors i Bruxelles’ a number of musicians met with European Parliament to emphazise the importance of copyright in the digital age.

On one side you have companies like Google advocating a regime of more freedom (less protection?) supported by the European Comission who with the new head of the European Commission has announced thet he will create new jobs “by modernising copyright rules in the light of the digital revolution and changed consumer behavior”

On the other side you have (some/most) artists earning their living by copyright rules and the earnings from their works. Jens Skov Thomsen from the Danish Band “Veto” is quoted in Politiken for saying that between 25% and 50% of his earnings come from collection rights based on copyright.

The circle of creation is a delicate balance between encouraging people to create new material and enabling subsequent artists to use previously created material under fair conditions AND making products consumers will like/buy/rent/stream/watch (you can continue the list yourself).

The Danish Centre for Public Innovation (COI) has published a new report about public innovation – “Ud på kanten, ind til kernen, over til naboen”.

 

The points made by COI are:

·         The politicians are an enabling factor if the allow an experimenting approach.

·         A culture based on curiosity, openness and experimenting is key

·         Using employees and users in the process is important

·         It is difficult to sum up the effects of innovation – there are many different bottom lines

·         There is a large potential for knowledge sharing

 

One of the cases in the report was very inspiring and at the same time a picture of the challenges, you have to overcome as an inventor in the public system. A nurse at a hospital got an idea for a pacifier for infants supplying oxygen to the child. The idea was picked up and developed into a product and resulted in a patent.

 

The voyage from idea to a product took 6 years and that is a process that will stop most people. Of course it could be a strategy to whittle out the weakest innovation but I doubt that is the case.

 This week saw the publication of the annual patent statistics from Danish Universities. The media focused on the imbalance between expenditure and revenue from patents. The universities spend 46 million DKK and only earn 23 million DKK – quite a loss when you focus on those numbers.

DTU is quoted for saying that the university will focus more on deciding early which patents they will focus on and thereby cut costs. The blame for the high costs of commercialization is put on a strategy focusing on creating spin outs. This is quoite hard to see by the numbers since DTU only created 6 spin out companies out of the 169 patents they applied for in 2013.

Looking at the report the number of licenses and spin outs are very low compared to the number of patents applied for. What also is significant is the type of employees responsible for the work in the universities. The number of lawyers have increased and the number of economists have decreased. What is essential when starting a new company is not the number of lawyers but the number of business savvy people involved. Create an idea and an understanding of the market and let the lawyers hammer out the legal framework afterwards.

The universities should focus their spin out strategies on market analysis and mating the invention with the right business people.

Compared to large universities like Caltech, Oxford, NCU and Michegan the number of spin out companies is comparable. These universities spin out an average of 5 companies a year – with the exception of Michegan which spawns an impressive 10 companies a year.

On the positive the number of people involved in commercialization have increased and provide a solid base for the work in the future.

Normally we look at the number of patents when trying to assess the innovative force of a country. However, looking to the quality of patents will give you a hint on where the best inventions are made.

I´m proud to say that in the environmental or green area Denmark is leading the way.

Last week Aquaporin won the European Inventor Award in the SME category for “their invention of a water-purifying membrane coated with aquaporins, which purifies water without consuming large amounts of energy. The innovation of this Danish team of chemists relies on the natural filtering function of so-called aquaporins. Unlike conventional methods, it does not require an elaborate filtration system based on energy- and cost-intensive hydrostatic pressure.”

This is the third Danish winner in four years and the second green invention to win. The last winner was Jens Peter Dall for his biomass based energy plant.

The Danish may not apply for most patents but the innovation that is generated is of very high quality.

Read more at the DKPTO site

When the supreme court of the United States makes a decision you listen – especially if you are interested in patents. The blogosphere/mediasphere/IPsphere has been buzzing with the Supreme Courts latest decision the last few days. The case Alice Corporation pty. LTD. v. CLS Bank International was decided june 19.

 

 Petitioner Alice Corporation is the assignee of several patents that dis­close a scheme for mitigating “settlement risk” and had upset CLS who sued them to invalidate the patents. The patents were held invalid by the supreme court in the decision because they relied on an abstract idea. The ruling has been heralded as a mighty blow to the US software patents – notoriously hated and still more debated. The ruling is a walk along memory lane for softwarepatents citing previous rulings like Gottshalk vs Benson and Parker vs Flook.

However the case is not one about software in particular but about basic patent rules. The Court says “Because petitioner’s system and media claims add nothing of substance to the underlying abstract idea, they too are patent ineligi­ble under §101.”

What they are saying is that Alice has taken a good idea and smacked some tech around it and try to patent this – which is not possible. The Court says “We conclude that the method claims, which merely require generic computer implemen­tation, fail to transform that abstract idea into a patent ­eligible invention.”

The case is a simple test of whether anything new of substance is added and unrelated to the software patent debate. On the other hand it is good to see that the Supreme Court upholds the basic barriers of patentability in the US – hopefully preventing abstract patents from filtering thru the system.

The patent in case has a large family around the world but I’m happy to say the the European cousins have all failed.

Copyright can be tricky, and to be honest it’s a bit of a maze figuring out what to do. The Samuelson Clinic on Berkley has some help for you.

The Clinic has just published a handbook to determining whether copyrighted material is inside or outside the public domain.

These educational tools help users to evaluate the copyright status of a work created in the United States between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act.

The tool still requires some participation from the user but is a good guideline.

I made this in Danish so sorry for excluding the non speaking readers

Hvorfor er det jeg stemmer ja til Patentdomstolen 25. maj ?

I de tidlige dage af 2014 begyndte jeg at forberede mig på en ”interessant” kampagne op til folkeafstemningen om patentdomstolen. Siden da har jeg samlet på argumenter fra nej-siden. Det er et frustrerende arbejde, fordi argumenterne hurtigt kan få mit blodtryk i vejret på grund af myter, fejlfortolkninger og misinformation. Jeg har efterhånden set mange skrifter og hørt mange indlæg fra nej siden, så her kommer min forklaring på hvorfor jeg aldrig har været i tvivl om mit ja,

Diskussionen om patentdomstolen bliver lynhurtigt ideologisk og lidet faktuel som mange andre emner, som er fæstnet på diskussioner om de greb vi bruger i vores samfund. Skal der mere magt til EU? Er patenter de rigtige stimuli for innovation? Svaret kan pakkes ind i økonomiske, samfundsmæssige og juridiske analyser men stammer i nogle meget basale ideologiske holdninger til patentsystemet. Jeg indrømmer, at mit ideologiske bagtæppe peger på både EU og patenter – hvilket ikke forhindrer mig i at være kritisk over for begge dele.

I Europa har vi siden 1970’erne stræbt efter at lave et ensartet patentsystem og endelig mange år senere, er vi ved at nå noget der minder om det mål. Med patentdomstolen og enhedspatentet får vi nu et ensartet patent Europa. At stemme ja til patentdomstolen vil gøre det lettere at være opfinder. I dag skal du søge patentbeskyttelse i et patchwork af lande i EU. De opfindere jeg har mødt (og det er alligevel ikke så få) har alle undret sig over den megen bureaukrati og de mange gebyrer der skulle betales i processen. Det forsvinder i det nye patentsystem…til gavn for store og små. Der er lavet økonomiske analyser af værdien af denne afbureaukratisering, som jeg ikke vil gentage her, da det såre simple fakta er, at det vil være mindre belastende at tage et patent.

Spillereglerne for patenter tiltrækker sig megen opmærksomhed – hvad kan patenteres og hvad kan ikke?. Faktum er, at reglerne – og dermed hvad der kan patenteres – forbliver de samme. Dem der udsteder patenterne forbliver de samme. Der indføres en specialiseret domstol som er ny. Den nye domstol opstår ikke i et ’Wild West’, hvor ingen regler gælder men skal holde sin plads i det europæiske hierarki, som beskrevet i artikel 20 og 21. Her står det at ” Domstolen anvender EU-retten i sin helhed og respekterer dens forrang. ” og ” da domstolen er fælles for de kontraherende medlemsstater og er en del af deres retssystem, samarbejder den med Den Europæiske Unions Domstol for at sikre korrekt anvendelse og ensartet fortolkning af EU-retten lige som enhver national domstol, navnlig i henhold til artikel 267 i TEUF. Den Europæiske Unions Domstols afgørelser er bindende for domstolen, derfor kan patentdomstolen ikke gøre som den vil, men skal respektere EU-retten. Det er en betryggende garanti, som ikke ændrer den situation der er gældende i dag. Som det er i præ patentdomstolsverdenen skal de nationale domstole også respektere EU-retten.

Som sagt er det også de samme mennesker som i dag udsteder patenter efter den Europæiske Patent Konvention der vil udstede de Europæiske patenter. Efter at have haft min gang hos den Europæiske Patent Organisation EPO kan jeg kun have tillid til de medarbejdere, der behandler vores patentansøgninger. Det er dygtige og dedikerede mennesker, som har en passion for teknologi og patenter. Jeg husker engang Trine Bramsen (S) som IT-ordfører kom med et humoristisk men provokerende opråb til de kliche fyldte IT nørder – hvilket faldt mange IT folk for brystet. På samme måde føler jeg et stik, hver gang patentmyndighederne bliver beskrevet som grådige, egennyttige og manipulerende – Folkebevægelsen mod EU oplyser endda om muligheden for at patentdomstolens dommere kan bestikkes. Jeg har ingen grund til at betvivle at de patenter der udstedes i fremtiden overholder reglerne.

På samme måde har jeg en tro på at myndighederne følger EPK og EPOs formål loyalt. Skulle det ikke ske, er der en mulighed for medlemsstaterne for at bringeforholdene i orden ved at udøve deres ret til at regulere organisationen enten i det administrative råd (hvor der sidder repræsentanter fra medlemslandene) eller ved ministerkonferencen. Det danske Folketing inddrages i forberedelsen af regeringskonferencerne på samme måde som ved EU rådsmøder. EPO bliver tit beskyldt for langsomt at have ændret praksis til fordel for de store multinationale virksomheder og dermed have melet egen kage. Det der i virkeligheden er sket, er at verden har udviklet sig. Det har alle dage – lige siden den europæiske patent konvention blev vedtaget i 1973 – været muligt at patentere opfindelser indeholdende IT og software. Det fremgår tydeligt af konventionen, at muligheden er der. At det så først blev praktisk muligt at opfylde kravene til patentering da teknologien nåede et mere modent stadie, er en anden ting. Der har  været en teknologisk udvikling, som har betydet flere patenter.

Dem der kender mig, ved at jeg er stor tilhænger af patentsystemet både af ideologiske årsager og på grund af min erfaring med patentsystemet. Folkeafstemningen om patentdomstolen bliver af mange også brugt til at stemme om patentsystemet. Her bruges mange mere eller mindre lødige argumenterfor at tale nej sagen. Jeg har brugt meget tid på at læse studier, rapporter og analyser af de forskellige IP regimer. Jeg har endda bidraget til nogle af studierne selv. På et tidspunkt opgav jeg min læsning, da forskningen stritter i alle retninger og ganske ofte er ideologisk baseret (fra begge ender af spektret).

På mine gamle dage er jeg begyndt at bruge det mest basale studie af alle: Der er patenter og der er vækst i samfundet = patenterne virker. Sådan en simplificering er at bede om tordnende belæringer fra dem der ikke deler mit synspunkt med henvisninger til Bessen & Maskin, Boldrin & Levine, Hunt og mange andre. Men faktum er, at for hver analyse som viser patenters skadeliglighed, er der lige så mange der viser deres positive effekt.  Det seneste eksempel er Jonathan Barnett fra USC Gould School of Law som i sit studie ”From Patent Thickets to Patent Networks” (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2431917) dokumenterer at på IT området har de såkaldte ”patent minefelter” eller patent thickets ikke haft en negativ betydning. Han skriver ” Scholarly and popular commentary often assert that markets characterized by intensive patent issuance and enforcement suffer from “patent thickets” that suppress innovation. This assertion is difficult to reconcile with continuous robust levels of R&D investment, coupled with declining prices, in technology markets that have operated under intensive patent issuance and enforcement for several decades“. Herudover, er det overraskende at læse at “Based on this evidence, there is little support for the possibility that MPEG LA is assessing royalties that are significantly above relevant market averages for comparable technologies and even some support for the possibility that MPEG LA is assessing royalties that are significantly below those averages”. Altså har patenter medført lavere priser for virksomheder og forbrugere, ikke det omvendte.

EU og USA er ikke det samme. Det gælder på mange områder og ikke mindst på patentområdet. Reglerne, retssystemet og den juridiske infrastruktur i EU og USA er fundamentalt forskellige. Det betyder, at det ikke er relevant at copy-and-paste de amerikanske erfaringer på den europæiske situation. Et par gammelkendte eksempler på forskellene:

·         Patentreglerne er forskellige ift. hvad der kan patenteres

·         Sager for domstolene i USA afgøres ikke af juridiske tekniske dommere men af juryer

·         Muligheden for punitive damages i patentsager i USA betyder meget høje erstatninger for krænkelser og dermed incitament for at føre retssager

·         USPTO har ikke haft mulighed for administrativt at omprøve patenter (nu ændret)

Derfor er al snak om patenttrolde, amerikanske tilstande og softwarepatenter rene skræmme scenarier, som ikke bør påvirke beslutningen om patentdomstolen. SF´s Magrethe Auken argumenterede imponerende smukt i Orientering 15.5.14 (http://www.dr.dk/p1/orientering/orientering-590) for hvorfor man ikke kan blande den materielle patentret sammen med diskussionen af patentsystemet – De patenter man ikke kan lide vil ikke blive forandret med patentdomstolen og det er noget vrøvl, at det bedre kan betale sig at stå udenfor. Mere præcist kan det nærmest ikke siges.

Mange af nej-fortalernes  argumenter vedrørende effekterne af folkeafstemningen cirkler om frygt og risiko. Vi frygter at retspraksis vil skride, at der vil blive frit spil for patenttrolde og at der er risiko for at domstolen opfører sig uhensigtsmæssigt. Denne abstrakte frygt styrer meget af debatten, hvilket er en dårlig ting. Over for den abstrakte frygt står mange konkrete opfindere og virksomheder (store og små) som frygter at afstemningen bliver et nej, så de vil blive stillet lige så dårligt som i dag. Den abstrakte frygt betyder også, at der er mange nej fortalere der siger ”vi kan bare se hvordan det går og så tilslutte os senere”. Det er et meget forståeligt argument, hvis man hverken ønsker patenter eller EU, men uforståeligt hvis man ønsker at deltage i det europæiske demokrati. Lige som på det globale miljøområde ønsker jeg ikke at Danmark sætter sig på bagsædet og venter på at verden opvarmes, men i stedet går forrest og kæmper for at gøre en forskel. Derfor kan jeg ikke vente og se med patentdomstolen.

Frem for at basere mit valg på ”hvad nu hvis” og frygten for det der kunne risikere at komme har jeg valgt at se på de positive effekter af patentdomstolen som vi ved kommer: mindre administration, besparelser og ensartet praksis.

Derfor og af mange andre grunde stemmer jeg ja den 25. maj.

 

  Due to the fact that the danes are voting about the European patent court may 25.th the papers are full of patentstories. Most of the stories are biased one way or the other.

I am sure that the danes will be none the wiser when they approach the booth in a few weeks time.

The last two days alone there has been 59 stories or comments in the press about the patent court – according to the dkpto press clippings.

This morning I heard a radio interview with representative from the association for organized IT Professionals in Denmark (PROSA) Mikkel Hammer Nonbo. The interview was one of the usual: full of fear mongering and warped information. Nonbo among other things claimed that the patent system was designed for a world where agriculture dominated and not IT. This statement ignores the fact that the EPC was drafted in the shadow of early IT development and wisely formulated so Europe would not end up in the same mess as the americans.

One thing he did answer clearly and factual was that there is no problem with patent trolls in Europe.

Shoes for Crews wouldn´t put up with a demand letter from US patent Troll Eclipse IP – instead of being a victim, they sued the troll last week.

In an article Jeremy Elman, a patent attorney at DLA Piper in Miami, sees this as a growing trend.

The trend is probably due to the media exposure of patent trolls and the reported success stories. Another factor could be that companies become more IP aware and know what options they have.

 

21st mar, 2014

Be original

Be Original Americas is a charter signed by design companies committed “to informing, educating and influencing manufacturers, design professionals and individuals on the economic, ethical, and environmental value of authentic design while preserving and investing in its future”.


The charter is supported by companies like Alessi and Danish design company Fritz Hansen (from my hometown!).


One of the catch phrases of the initiative is Don’t settle for a copy be original…nicely supported by a cute movie


21st mar, 2014

Obama trollslayer

Patent reform in the USA is tricky business – usually slow and well lobbied with only minimal effects. However, Wired has an article dubbing US President Obama as one of the American presidents that leave a significant mark on patents. President Obama has issued a number of presidential orders that will change patents in the US forever…hopefully.

The orders are

·         Require patentees and applicants to disclose the “Real Party-in-Interest,” by requiring that any party sending demand letters, filing an infringement suit or seeking PTO review of a patent to file updated ownership information, and enabling the PTO or district courts to impose sanctions for non-compliance.

·         Permit more discretion in awarding fees to prevailing parties in patent cases, providing district courts with more discretion to award attorney’s fees under 35 USC 285 as a sanction for abusive court filings (similar to the legal standard that applies in copyright infringement cases).

·         Expand the PTO’s transitional program for covered business method patents to include a broader category of computer-enabled patents and permit a wider range of challengers to petition for review of issued patents before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB).

·         Protect off-the-shelf use by consumers and businesses by providing them with better legal protection against liability for a product being used off-the-shelf and solely for its intended use. Also, stay judicial proceedings against such consumers when an infringement suit has also been brought against a vendor, retailer, or manufacturer.

·         Change the ITC standard for obtaining an injunction to better align it with the traditional four-factor test in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, to enhance consistency in the standards applied at the ITC and district courts.

·         Use demand letter transparency to help curb abusive suits, incentivizing public filing of demand letters in a way that makes them accessible and searchable to the public.

·         Ensure the ITC has adequate flexibility in hiring qualified Administrative Law Judges.

In the state of union early 2014 President Obama said “Let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation”.

This shows that the President is bent on making real change to the US patent system.

Wired bestows the title patent trollslayer to the president. One of the more unlikely titles the president has recived. Furthermore “Trollslayer” is one of my favorite Warhammer books although the character looks nowhere like the American President.

1st mar, 2014

A patent troll defeat

Foss patents reports that a case of patent infringement against Apple has been thrown out of court finding no infringement. The case is interesting because the plaintiff is IP.com which is a NPA – patent troll – company.

This shows that if you use the rules the system actually works. The problem however, is that IP.com is suing a lot of other companies with the same patent. This problem is part of the unified court which hopefully will be realized soon

September 2012 saw the birth of internet phenomenon “Grumpy cat”. What started as a funny picture of a cat has now ended with the cat’s owner also owning a trademark and earning money from officially licensed merchandize.

This is an example of how you can turn an idea or concept into hard cash.

In trademark law there is an important term dalled dilution – its when your trademark goes from something unique to something generic. It happened to “asprin” and “gramophone” and nearly caught “Walkman”.

Game developer King fear that their trademark “Candy Crush Saga” is being diluted and leeched upon by the competition. Therefore they do what all sensible American companies do: send out legal letters.

Forbes has a post on how King is threatening other game developers. First they started the war for the word “Candy” – contacting Apple to have them ban apps containing the word Candy. Now it’s the word “Saga”. One example is Stoic Studios and their game “Banner Saga”. King is opposing their use of the word Saga – but states that ““King has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future”. Really strange.

The funny thing is that the Stoic trademark for Banner Saga predates Kings trademark for Candy Crush Saga.

One part of the Forbes article I don’t understand is the part about bleeding Stoic with legal costs. Trademarks can be opposed administratively by the USPTO. Im not sure how that system compares to the European, but in Europe administrative costs are a lot less than going to court.

In any way this is a prime example on how companies are using the IP system in a way that is both wrong and harmful to themselves.

Maybe I have to reconsider playing that candy game and begin Hayday again.

Penny Arcade has a great cartoon on this subject

Reading the article “The End of Ownership” on Wired I began to wonder if the discussion on copyright is suffering from the same problems that we accuse the laws of: being out dated.

In the article Kyle Wiens states that “Welcome to the brave new world of copyright. If you want to truly own what you buy, you’ll have to fight for those rights — because they are disappearing”. It ocurred to me that this argument is as old as the laws it is turned against. It assumes that we want to own everything we buy. The market (and thereby consumers) is moving in another direction where you don’t own but buy access to goods or services.

I have a hard time convincing myself that I have to own a physical DVD or CD when I can stream the content I need anytime I want.

The article talks about tinkering with software from gadgets and things you buy. There is a few bad analogies in the article that clouds the debate, fx DRM in Renault car batteries – an issue that is unrelated to copyright but related to contract law.

The real argument most opponents of IP are promoting is that they do not want any rules at all. The argument may be wrapped in other political or economical arguments claiming barriers to growth and blocking innovation.

So to me the arguments used are as old as the law itself, and should be updated…just as the law is being.

13th jan, 2014

Converting waste to value

A small Danish company is moving ahead with groundbreaking technology aimed at reducing energy consumption. TEGnology has developed new energy materials, which convert waste heat into electricity.

In Denmark, there is a long tradition for taking waste and converting it into energy. The world’s first district heating system in Frederiksberg is a good example of this.

The basis of the company is not only its innovative thinking but also its patents. Together with Aarhus University and the German Aerospace Center, TEGnology has just been granted a patent for their new invention.

This shows a solid commercial strategy including protection, corporation and market knowledge. TEGnology says that “With the new patent, TEGnology is now able to roll out the technology much faster and with even greater confidence than before, and as a result, the company is looking for strategic partnerships and collaborations in an effort to promote and expedite the commercial application of this innovative technology”.

CIPL has a good post on risk in development on copyleft platforms. The article discusses some of the legal issues faced by developers can approach an open source platform or program without being caught in the copyleft “license” with a duty to disclose if they retransfer their products.

The article is based on a working paper by Free Software European Legal Network and concludes that “entities that do not desire to disclose code or force their customers to do so, or otherwise conform to copyleft obligations, working with copyleft platforms and programs presents a very significant and uncertain, risk-reward equation. “

Since some Danish politicians have decided to mate the European Patent Court a political issue. We are voting about the European Patent Court in a public referendum. The date has been set to may 25th.Together with the vote for the European parliament.

Most Danes won’t understand the issue at stake and rely on media coverage for information rather than investigating this distant subject themselves. What makes a good story in the media? Opposites. Therefore – since the mainstream is “vote yes” – I predict a massive focus on the no side. The no side is also able to deliver juicy stories playing on our fears – perfect for media.

There will be stories about the court allowing patents for things otherwise non patentable and small inventors bullied by big greedy corporations.

But if you read the text, the new court will administer EU-law, The European Patent Convention and national law – just like courts are doing today. What was not patentable yesterday will not be patentable tomorrow.

Let the game begin.

Wipo has just launched WIPO GREEN which is an interactive marketplace that promotes innovation and diffusion of green technologies.  WIPO GREEN consists of an online database and network that brings together a wide range of players in the green technology innovation value chain, and connects owners of new technologies with individuals or companies.

WIPO GREEN’s objective is to become a go-to platform for green technologies

The initiative has a long list of partners, but unfortunately, no companies or governments are among these. On the positive note the fact that R20 – an organization that helps sub-national governments around the world to develop low-carbon and climate resilient economic development projects – is a good thing. It is a fact that climate change has to come from cities and regions and not governments.

Best of luck to this initiative!

Since the Start of October, it has been possible to access scanned documents of the Travaux Préparatoires EPC 1973 – the working documents leading to the first European Patent Treaty.

This is very interesting documents for the interpretation of the patent law in Europe.

Getting such access always makes me happy and fascinated by the look into the past

Danish Researcher Thomas Rønde from Copenhagen Business Schools has published an international study with two others investigating how licensing activity should be organized within large corporations.

 

In their study the group show that a decentralized solution where each business unit is responsible for licensing is not as effective as a centralized solution.

 

The decentralized business unit lacks motivation to license technologies, but a centralized unit will take better decisions in relation to licensing.

 

It’s an interesting argument for creating a centralized licensing unit. This unit will alsom often be more in sync with the overall goals of the company – something which is sometimes neglected by the smaller unit seeking to “promote” the unit first.

The answer is: very hard. IP is one of the more complex concepts for people to understand. The more you simplify the more wrong you seem to do. The more one sided you are the more unfair you present your case.

That must be the learning point from the new elementary school curriculum that is being developed in the US. Wired tells that the California School Library Association and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition in conjunction with the Center For Copyright Infringement are developing materials for use in schools in California. The material that Wired calls near complete, may be needing an overhaul even before its done. Wired has obtained comments on the material from the EFF which calls the material “This thinly disguised corporate propaganda is inaccurate and inappropriate,”

The material I have seen is not as bad as the EFF wants us to believe. Of course it promotes IP protection, but not in a bad way in my opinion.

One thing I lack though is a focus on private use. The material for 6th graders ask ” Have you ever used these kinds of materials online in a school project? Do you know if you used this artwork the way the artist wanted? Did you check for copyright?”. The follow-up discussion should be one of private use compared to professional use.

The challenge is that to understand even a piece of IP you need the complete picture, which is impossible to explain to a class of 6th graders. Some time ago I explained the mechanisms of climate change to my kids and ended up using almost an hour explaining the basic stuff (and some of the advanced too). This shows that if you insist on people actually understanding a complex subject you need to take the whole tour.

Teachers do not have the luxury of time and therefore often have to limit their teaching to the basics…knowing that some things are left out. It is clear that our kids have to be taught subjects in a balanced approach, but it is equally clear that the ambitions should not be to make the 6th graders full blown IP counsels.

The Danish Patent and Trademark Office wants to know if you have encountered counterfeit foodstuffs in Denmark.

The Office is participating in “Operation Opson” and will use your information to plan the Danish part of the operation.

Read more and contribute here.

Danish schools have been given a challenge to “design to improve life”. This year the challenge is: How do we adapt to a more life with a lot more water both from above and below?

On the website the nominated designs to the solution can be followed.

It is very exciting to follow the development in innovation in relation to climate and water. The subject is gaining in the Danish agenda and it will be interesting to see if this awareness can be translated into breakthrough innovation both technical and conceptual

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