IP Market Updates
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IP Market Updates
March 31, 2017

The USPTO must be taking cues from the Trump White House and its love for a daily dose of drama. We just learned from a few well-connected sources (now I sound just like the New York Times) that the new Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, has been quietly interviewing candidates to replace current Director, Michelle Lee, who has been in and out of the job so many times since January that we stopped keeping score.

Apparently, the leading candidates are still the same individuals that we reported on a few months ago, i.e. Phil Johnson, former VP IP Strategy at J&J, and former IPO president, as well as former Chief justice of the Federal Circuit, Randall Rader. Both are well regarded in the IP community and proponents of a strong patent system to support innovations and investment. Each would be a breath of fresh air to an agency that has gone from a patent issuing to a patent killing machine over the last years. Invalidation rates still hover at 70%+ for patents challenged via the PTAB. We will keep you posted as this story unfolds, but this is undoubtedly a positive development if you are an inventor or patent owner. It also comes on the heels of an announcement a few days earlier that Director Lee was forming a “working group” on regulatory reform. Under a new director, this group could now become a conduit to seriously revisit the entire post-grant review (like IPRs) mess that the America Invents Act has created. 

Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court heard another patent case, this time dealing with patent venue (i.e. the court district in which a Plaintiff is entitled to bring its law suit). As we discussed last week, the current rule has given the Eastern District of Texas a prominent role in hearing patent cases over the last two decades. It is considered much faster (hence its nickname as the “rocket docket”), and has a more pro-patentee slant than other districts like North California, where large tech companies are located and generally on the receiving end of those law suits. Not surprisingly, those defendants want the battle to be on their own turf where they feel they have the home field advantage and they have lobbied pretty hard to change that rule. Judges had harsh questions for both sides, but many pundits predict that the rule favoring a broader choice of venue may prevail. This may seem like a fairly trivial case, but a reversal of the status quo would have a significant impact on the ability for patent owners to successfully bring their cases to trial and would throw one more obstacle into what already feels like a 3000-meter steeplechase course. SCOTUS must release it decision before its summer recess in June.

Abroad, despite assurances that it is business as usual, many are wondering what the official “kick off” of the Brexit period this week will mean to the European Unified Patent System. Only time will tell.

We have been telling you for a while that the action was now going to be in China which, now that it has a local tech industry to defend, has fully embraced the ideal of a strong IP system. This week, it reached an important milestone, with a Chinese Court issuing the very first injunction barring a company from practicing a standard essential patent (SEP). This is big. You can imagine if hundreds of companies implementing, say a Bluetooth standard, are now being told, by a court, that they can no longer sell their product without removing that functionality? Furthermore, the Chinese court, in a rare display of transparency, issued a press release stating that it has 20 other SEP cases in the works. Watch out! For companies manufacturing infringing goods in China, or wanting to sell in China, this could be a major game changer. 

For those who think that China will only favor local companies, this week’s events showed that might not be the case. Apple was able to reverse a lower court decision and successfully quashed a previous injunction that momentarily prevented the tech giant from selling the iPhone 6 in the territory.

Finally, a recent study by Lex Machina showcases a few of the metrics supporting what we have been saying for quite a while… Germany has now become the venue of choice for NPEs to assert their patents. There are a couple reasons including the relatively low costs of litigation, the threat of an injunctive relief and a more predictable patent court, that has no philosophical problems treating all patent owners equally whether they happen to be the original inventors or not.

The 2 tables below say it all:

The IP community is simply doing what most people do when the environment they were operating under has become less favorable; it is voting with its feet. Many years from now, when the dust has settled, the downside to this phenomenon will be measured in trillions of lost growth within the US economy. The shortsighted, lobby-sensitive approach to innovation has essentially resulted in the exportation of our coveted patent system to other countries. It is so sad!

Other relevant news below. 

Happy reading!


 Uber Acquires Ridesharing Patents from AT&T 
PatentVue by Envision IP 
In our continued coverage of the ridesharing industry, Envision IP recently analyzed Uber and Lyft's patent portfolios. Since our last review in (more...)

 It's time to start eliminating regulations inhibiting patents 
Michelle Lee, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), recently formed the Regulatory Reform Task Force contemplated by (more...)    

 Supreme Court Weighs Where Patents Lawsuits Can Be Filed 
Insurance Journal 
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struggled over whether to upend nearly 30 years of law governing patent lawsuits that critics say allows (more...)    

 Patent Trolls Plague Chip Vendors 
EE Times 
One of the unintended consequences of the M&A feeding frenzy in the semiconductor industry is that more chip vendors are getting targeted by patent (more...)

 Samsung Patents Smartwatch With Secondary Rim Display 
In a patent discovered by Patently Apple, it looks like Samsung has filed for a patent for a smartwatch that comes with a secondary display around the (more...)    

 Apple wins iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus patent case in China 
Hindustan Times 
The Beijing IP Court ruled that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus do not infringe on patents for exterior smartphone design held by a defunct local (more...)

 Toyota working on vehicle control and connectivity with Microsoft patents 
CarWale (blog) 
First it was Tata joining hands with Microsoft to build connected cars and now Toyota is licensing Microsoft patents for vehicle control and connectivity. (more...)

 Google and Amazon targeted in patent suits 
World Intellectual Property Review 
Uniloc, which claimed that it owns a number of patents in the text/voice instant messaging field, alleged both companies had infringed three patents. (more...)

 What to consider when looking for a patent attorney 
Patents protect technical innovations. The reward for the patent owner is significant: the legal option to stop others from using your invention in the (more...)    

 4 Of The Most Valuable Modern Tech Patents 
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or process that provides in general, a new way of doing something or offers a (more...)    

 Governments' Thumb on the Scales 
They politicize their processes and disregard the exclusivity that rightfully belongs to patent owners. They take away private property from the creators (more...)

 Patent Market Trends and the Key Factors Impacting Patent Valuation 
Financial valuation button with business hand on blurred background The value of a patent or a patent portfolio in the broader patent market, for better (more...)

 Hard Times For Patent Trolls And Challengers As Courts, Targets Fight Back 
Texas hedge fund manager Kyle Bass lost another patent challenge this week, as a panel at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected his attempt (more...)    

 The Impending Launch of the Unified Patent Court 
In a fundamental change to how European patents are going to be litigated in Europe, the United Patent Court (UPC) will soon have exclusive (more...)    

 Are patents worth the investment? 
My Business 
Patents are something of a controversial topic for SMEs – some are strongly in favour of pursuing, others see it with little to no value. We asked a serial (more...)
 EPO Official Aggressively Promotes Software Patents At CEBIT Fair 
Intellectual Property Watch 
While mathematical methods, programs for computers, and presentations of information are excluded by the Europe Patent Convention, that in no way (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

Upcoming Events
On April 26, 2017, Mr. Carbonneau will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming 9th bi-annual edition of FORPIQ conference in Montreal where he will talk about Embracing the New IP Reality.  

On May 3, 2017, Mr. Carbonneau will be speaking at the 2nd Annual Cleantech Summit of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) in Ottawa. SDTC is an independent national public entity that funds Canadian cleantech projects and coaches the companies that lead them as they move their ground-breaking technologies to market, Mr. Carbonneau will be moderating a panel discussing a national IP strategy for the clean tech industry.  

New Patent Sale Completed
Tangible IP recently closed a patent sale in the field of Audio & Video Search Content. We have closed on 2 new portfolio sales since the beginning of the year and have more transactions in closing. Look for more public announcements shortly.
New Portfolios for Sale
We have several patent portfolios for sale, most of them with detailed evidence of use (EoU). To see all available portfolios, or to submit patents for a free evaluation, visit our website

Our services are designed to form the building blocks of a complete IP ecosystem, from due diligence to sophisticated strategic advisory, from valuation to complex sales and IP licensing program. Most services can be procured separately or combined to better fit your needs and minimize duplicate costs. In most cases, you will get valuable insights and strategic tools to create and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage for much less than the price of filing a single patent application.
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Past Newsletters

March 23, 2017
February 24, 2017
February 21, 2017
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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