IP Market Updates
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IP Market Updates
February 15, 2017

A lot happened since our most recent IP Market Updates on February 3rd. One constant though; we still do not know who the hell is in charge of the USPTO. As of today, the mystery surrounding Michelle Lee’s tenure (or not) is still unresolved and some have even started to question the validity of the patents issued under her signature since her position has been officially tagged as “vacant”. Since most investigative reporters in the US seem to have their hands full elsewhere, it may be a while before we know for sure who steering the ship. In the meantime, former Chief justice Rader has promised -if he is selected- to “make patents great again”… 

RPX Corp, the large publicly traded defensive patent aggregator is again in trouble. After being pressured in the past by its activist shareholders for his poor performance and runaway operating costs (someone has to pay for all those expensive patent experts), it announced that its profits dropped 68% in the last quarter. 
This in turn triggered a request from its CEO John Amster to take the company private. RPX’ board refused and Amster was forced to resign. The main problem with RPX is that it was created at a time when NPE litigation was at a high and its main role was to take the “better” patents off the market before they would be asserted against its members. Now that most NPEs have gone the way of the dodo, there is no bugaboo anymore to wave in front of members to extract those hefty annual dues. Thus the decreasing revenues. Our prediction is that RPX will have, like most NPEs already did, trim its cost considerably and adapt to the new normal where NPE driven litigation is a much smaller fraction of the Courts’ docket.

Others have fared much better; theOttawa based NPE Wi-Lan has just announced that its profits have more than doubled in the last quarter of CY16, despite making some aggressive investments in patent portfolios from the like of Kodak and Global Foundries. A recent licensing deal announced with Micro Semi earlier this month should also help drive Q1 revenues up.

Meanwhile, we are seeing a resurgence of what we call “Privateers” deals, i.e. large technology companies selling their patents to NPEs who will then sue their competitors or other infringers. This is a common (and very hypocritical) stance by the tech industry who vigorously badmouths NPEs in front of Congress and theCourts, but turns to them at the first occasion to assert valuable patents (especially standard essential ones) without the PR
stain of having to sue themselves. In that category, we have recently seen new assertion initiated by the Japanese patent sovereign fund IP Bridge using patents it bought from Panasonic and Fujitsu, and from US-based NPE PanOptis, who is suing on patents it acquired from Erickson and (again) Panasonic.

So it is almost refreshing in a sense to see Blackberry (formerly RIM) go to court by suing Nokia directly. It should also be noted that a lot of the most recent cases were NOT filed in the US courts, but either in Germany, Japan or China. No one should need a better sign to conclude that the IP community has lost some faith in the US patent system to fairly protect inventors…

In response to 
this however, we are seeing a couple of encouraging signs from the adults in the room of the US IP community. First, the Intellectual Property Owner (IPO) Association, which comprises several of the large tech companies, is pushing hard to get a legislative fix to the Court created Mayo-Alice doctrine mess around patent eligibility. It is good to see concrete proposal rather than the perennially flawed anti-troll narrative for once. Similarly, a mix of industry and community leaders have teamed up to create the (Center for the Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU), a non-profit that aims at bringing a better understand and less confused view of patents as an important property right and an engine for innovation.

Talking of engine, we are firing off on all cylinders so far with the closing of our second sale in 2017, and a few more deals in our sight. Onward!

Other relevant news below. 

Happy reading!



 Google ordered to pay $20M for ripping off anti-malware patents in Chrome 
TNW (blog)
A District Court in Texas has ordered the electronics titan to spew out $20 million in damages for infringing four anti-malware patents in Chrome. (more...)  

 Patent Litigation Expected to Soar in 2017 
There has been a surge in patent litigation in the past five years, fueled by the accumulation of patents by Non-Practicing-Entities (NPEs) or ... (more...)

 Core Wireless Announces Patent License Agreement With Global Consumer Electronics
Yahoo Finance
Under the agreement, Core Wireless has licensed its worldwide portfolio of wireless patents and patent applications that cover technologies used in a … (more...)

 Samsung Settles Fight Over Media Delivery Patents 
Law360 (subscription)
The agreement, the details of which are confidential, closes out a fight that started in 2015 when Personalized Media, a patent licensing company, ... (more...)

 Canada: Patents - Year In Review 
Mondaq News Alerts
In 2016 we discussed a number of interesting patent cases. Leaving aside cases directed toward features related specifically to pharmaceuticals or to ... (more...)

 Microsoft program to help protect against intellectual property risks in the cloud 
Networks Asia
Under the program, the company will make 10,000 Microsoft patents available to customers that use Azure services for the sole purpose of enabling ... (more...)

 Patent Reform 2017: Changes coming from the Judiciary, Legislative and Executive Branches
Time for change While calls for widespread patent reform are not as loud as they have been in previous years, 2017 is shaping up to be a year where ... (more...)

 Top 10 Chinese mainland companies granted most 
patents in 2016 
China Daily
More than 1.3 million patent applications for new inventions were filed in China last year, the most of any country in the world for the sixth year in a row ... (more...)

 Former judge wants to head patent office, says he'll “Make Patents Great Again” 
Ars Technica
Who's the director of the US Patent and Trademark Office at the moment? It's a tougher question to answer than you'd think. A patent blog that closely ... (more...)

 HP patents, sold off to a troll, are used to sue Cisco and Facebook 
Ars Technica UK
Patents that only recently were in the hands of
Hewlett Packard Enterprise were used last week to sue several companies that build switches and ... (more...)

Rtic suit proves importance of patents 
Houston Chronicle
Local cooler company 
Rtic will stop selling their Yeti knockoffs by May 1, according to a settlement agreement. Yeti, based in Austin, said Thursday it ... (more...)

 Incubation's Unintended Consequence
Inside Higher Ed
Incubators' establishment is actually associated with a decrease in average patent quality and licensing revenue across the country's top research ... (more...)

The Hell Is Actually In Charge Of The US Patent And Trademark Office? 
You see, right before the Trump inauguration, it was widely reported that Michelle Lee would stay on as the Director of the US Patent and Trademark ... (more...)

 IPVALUE deal involving Cypress 
patents the latest in a string of NPE semiconductor hook-ups 
IAM (registration) (blog)
The IAM Market blog broke an interesting story 
recently, when it carried news that Cypress Semiconductor has transferred a large portfolio of patents ... (more...)

 Are Patent-Friendly PTAB Decisions On the Rise? 
The National Law Review
Patent litigation changed with 
passage of the America Invents Act. Overnight the PTAB became a new venue for challenging patent claims using IPRs, ... (more...)

 A Weak Patent System Increases Inequality, Protects Incumbent Monopolies
Stepping on the back of smaller businessman. The weakening of patent rights is coupled with a weakening of antitrust enforcement that limits control ... (more...)

Louis Carbonneau, Founder & CEO
IAM World's Leading IP Strategists since 2012

Tangible IP is a strategic IP advisory firm and the global leader in the sale and acquisition of high-quality patents, with a proven track record of over 2000 patents successfully brokered. If you are looking for strategic IP advice or have patents that could be monetized to raise capital or reinvest into your R&D, please contact us at
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Past Newsletters

February 3, 2017
December 6, 2016
November 29, 2016
November 22, 2016

November 15, 2016
November 7, 2016
October 27, 2016
October 17, 2016
October 9, 2016
October 3, 2016
August 15, 2016
July 29, 2016
July 11, 2016
July 1, 2016
June 20, 2016
May 31, 2016
May 17, 2016
April 22, 2016
April 11, 2016
March 17, 2016
March 7, 2016
February 29, 2016

February 22, 2016

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