Green innovators obtain patents
With President-Elect Obama’s announcement that he will establish an “Apollo Project” to develop a Green Economy, there is no doubt that “the Green Technology train has left the station.” Indisputably, investors will start to invest heavily in companies that appear to possess commericializable Green Technology that will enter the marketplace as the US embraces the Green Economy and develops the necessary infrastructure to make this happen. Before staking a claim to one or more of these companies, however, investors should understand whether existing patent rights owned by third parties could undermine the investment potential of even the most promising Green Technology innovators.
Anyone seeking to capitalize on the Green Economy and its attendant Green Technology must recognize a fundamental reality of US patent law: in granting a patent, the Patent Office cares only that an invention is useful, novel and nonobvious. Significantly–and this is the rub for investors in Green Technology companies–the Patent Office cares not a wit that an invention has commercial significance either today or in the future. As a result, many patents exist today for inventions that did not possess commercial viability when the patent issued, but that cover Green Technology that today may be on the cusp of commericialization. The owners of such patents can (and quite likely will) enforce their rights against those companies that successfully introduce that same Green Technology into the marketplace. Put simply, investors in Green Technology innovators must be hyper-diligent to ensure that inventors who had the same idea but could not commercialize that technology do not derail their commercial plans. Continue reading
Existing forms of financial modeling causes poor investment decisions
As global stock markets continue to struggle, smart investors seeking to capitalize on relatively cheap stock prices are searching for promising investment opportunities. Unfortunately, however, most investors are likely relying on the same sources of investment information that failed to accurately predict the current stock market situation. If the predictive nature of this information has been wrong time and time again, why do investors continue to rely on it? The answer is pretty simple: investment professionals lack knowledge that alternative sources of information exist.
One such alternative approach to making investment decisions involves using patent landscaping analytics to assess existing investment in a particular product or technology area. My research demonstrates that properly conducted patent landscaping analytics can effectively allow one to predict the future trajectory of product development by companies.
For example, as I have written about here and here, the fact that Google and Yahoo intended to significantly invest in Intenet-based television technology was fully predictable from their patent filings many months before Google and Yahoo actually made their respective public announcement of such plans. AT&T’s launch of its U-Verse Internet television service was similarly predictable from the volume of patent filings in this technology area. Continue reading
An Intellectual Asset Management Program can lead to significant tax savings
I recently heard a group of tax experts spoke about issues related to intellectual property (“IP”), and since then I have been thinking about how my clients could benefit from better incorporating IP into their corporate tax planning and accounting processes. The topic is very complex and, as such, I will leave the details to the experts. (Feel free to contact me for recommendations in this regard.) I believe it is nonetheless valid to make the following statement: if your tax experts do not include IP issues in their tax planning and accounting processes, your company is likely leaving considerable money on the table.
As these experts discussed IP-related tax issues, it became apparent to me how important IP asset management should be to corporate tax planning and accounting efforts. However, my experience demonstrates that few corporate managers are aware that such savings are possible. Even if they know about this opportunity, it would likely be exceedingly difficult for them to capitalize on this savings because few organizations possess the IP infrastructure that allows efficient capture and assessment of costs associated with obtaining and managing IP assets. And, without such IP accounting information, the tax savings cannot be appropriately captured. Continue reading