25 November 2021

News

As a patent owner or a company driving innovation, you more than likely spend a bit of time researching or filling patents to protect ideas. Once granted, the value of a patent lies in the ability to generate a return for your work in contributing to the innovation cycle. Typically, these assets can be monetized by enforcing your rights through patent litigation, or by licensing or selling your patents to others. Other IP owners find themselves on the other side of the coin and feel there is no need for monetization – only the need for defensive IP protection (where return-on-invest is generated by securing their own products and services).

While monetization and protection are typically the final intent with IP, we often overlook the full story of what patents can tell us. Patents can show us the R&D efforts of specific players and where their focus lies for new technology or products. They also can be used as a metric to identify when specific markets are going to take off or slow down. Patents also tell us when companies fail, since owners file for inventions thinking they are new but in reality are not. This happens all the time and lives in public records in patent offices worldwide. Patents are more than legal documents used to protect ideas, they serve as a map to when and how society will be innovating.

It is important to remember patents protect inventions, not products. Companies may be doing business in the US but the patents may cover an invention all over the world. Patents protect technological features beyond the product itself. For example, an owner who has a patent for a heating system begins to apply and sell toasters in the US. Then begins to integrate the patented heating system to ovens, then into cars, and continue developing new businesses because they own the technology through the patents.

If you want to understand what your competition is developing or where they plan to break into, use patents as your primary indicator. The patents your competitors are filing might as well be a magic arrow pointing you in the direction of their strategy.  Whether that arrow is pointing to a new product, a new focus, a new strategy, a new partnership, or even a whole new market; patents do not lie. An obvious and recent example is Facebook (Meta). In 2020, Facebook was identified as showing the most patent-related growth in the area of Optical Elements relating to Head’s Up Display patents or VR.[1] It was clear Facebook was making this transition and putting a lot of resources into making sure they would dominate the AR/VR space. And now a year and a half later, Zuckerberg has announced Meta, a metaverse platform aimed at creating social connection through AR/VR, and no one should have been surprised.

Patents are useful in indicating market trajectory or when a technology area is going to break out or even lose steam. It is important to keep in mind not all technology is patentable, and the number of patents can show what areas a company is trying to protect. Looking at the volume of patents and the number of players is useful in determining what emerging technologies are seeing traction and which ones are not being adopted. Patents trends can also point to when technology is going through an “update” or when new patents are substituting on old patents, rendering them obsoleteBeing able to identify the number of patents filed in a field or identifying the organizations filling those patents, you can predict which markets are attempting to innovate and which organizations are leading the charge.

According to the European Patent Office, in 2020 we saw a surge in patents relating to medical technology. Med-tech accounted for the highest number of new patent fillings surpassing digital communications from the previous year.[2] While this stat is directly related to the circumstances bought on by COVID-19, the underlying fact is the company who filed the most patents, Johnson & Johnson, was one of the main vaccine developers. The med-tech research and studies done during the past year and a half are going to continue to lead to medical innovation and advancements in the form of new drugs, new devices, and new procedures.

Patents should be seen as an organization’s strongest asset. They protect ideas, they create new revenue, and they validate a company’s value. Patent data will always be the guide for innovation in both patent holders’ objectives and the market’s overall direction. However, creating a strong patent portfolio is not an easy task. While patent data is public information there have been difficulties in comprehending the necessary data due to the sheer amount. Just looking at the U.S., in 2020, a total number of 399,055 patents were granted at the USPTO – an increase from 182,218 in 2000. [3] The number of patents will continue to grow as humans continue to innovate and as technologies continue to become more complex. If individuals were able to efficiently understand this amount of patent data, you might be able to make these decisions in a timely matter to adjust your strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

Typically to understand this information you would need to read hundreds of patent documents, or hire an industry expert to break down the information. This is not a problem for enterprise-sized accounts that have the resources to afford these huge inefficiencies. While the “strategy” is often file first and ask later, most companies do not have the methods to design an efficient strategy to maximize value. Due to this, portfolios become large over time and are filled with patents that end up producing no value. This task of keeping up with patent trends and large portfolios can seem nearly impossible for some SMEs or Universities who do not have access to additional recourses and whose focus is to create or innovate through their technology.

One way to help in evaluating patents and in fully understanding the story patents tell is by leveraging Artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our platform combines our battle-tested Artificial Intelligence, years of transactional data, and algorithms to create a clear story of patent data. IPwe offers the information and tools to help our clients identify, research, evaluate and transact their patents.

[1] https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2020-01-14/facebook-piling-up-patents-augmented-reality-push

[2] https://www.epo.org/about-us/annual-reports-statistics/statistics/2020/statistics/patent-applications.html#medical

[3] https://www.statista.com/statistics/256571/number-of-patent-grants-in-the-us/

 


 

Author: Franklin Bruscianelli, Director of Sales Operations

Franklin Bruscianelli’s experience comes from his years at IPwe. He works directly with patent owners and has a strong understanding of the problems and inefficiencies they face. By leveraging emerging technologies and the IPwe team’s experience, Franklin empowers owners of all sizes with new ways to understand and extract value from their patents.

 

About IPwe

IPwe is quickly emerging as creating the industry standard for patent NFTs. IPwe recently announced its partnership with IBM to represent patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). IPwe also has a partnership with CasperLabs  to further improve the patent registration process and create a chain of custody (CoC) Solution by using the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data, thereby creating a new approach to patent ownership verification. Patent NFTs are stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, running on the IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network. IPwe anticipates tokenized IP to become commercially available in Q4 of 2021. IPwe operates in more than 50 countries with offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America. To learn more about how IPwe can provide the answers to your IP-related business decisions, Request a Demo of the IPwe Platform on www.ipwe.com.

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

15 November 2021

News

Patents are assets and should be viewed from a collaborative perspective, said the Chairman of Appotronics Corporation Ltd, a Chinese Star Market listed company.

Appotronics Corporation Ltd’s Patent Strategy

During the 2019 China Science and Technology Capital Summit Forum, the Chairman of Appotronics, Li Yi, gave a keynote speech on the importance of intellectual property where he emphasized the following:

– Patents should not be seen as an expense, but as a company’s greatest competitive asset.

– Licensing or transferring additional patents from other companies to complete one’s patent portfolio, ultimately allows higher technology adoption and builds a more strategic patent portfolio.

Appotronics Corporation Ltd. is one of the first Shanghai Stock Exchange Star Market listed companies,and remains the first SSE Star Market listed company in Guangdong Province [1]. As of June 2020, Appotronics has obtained 1,038 patents for ALPD technology, 832 domestic and foreign patent applications, 211 international patent applications under the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), and holds a total of 2,081 patent applications and licenses worldwide (including PCT). The number of patent applications filed with Chairman Yi as the main inventor exceeds 1,000, covering China, the United States, Japan, Europe, and other countries and regions, forming a comprehensive patent layout in the field of laser display. In addition, Appotronics is a Leader Level Member of the International Laser Projector Association (LIPA) and participates in the development of international standards for laser displays.

The Keynote Speech

Patents are not an expense.

During his keynote speech Chairman Yi said, “I’m afraid it’s a short-sighted concept to consider patents as an expense. Last year, Appotronics took a piece of land in Nanshan District of Shenzhen, and some of our executives said that we should build our headquarters there quickly. But we never had a groundbreaking ceremony, because we instead invested heavily in our patents and patent strategy. We believed the return on investment on these assets would be higher than the return on investment brought by building our headquarters in Nanshan District, for one very simple reason” [2].

Yi said, “Our attitude toward patents is very scientific and very strict. In terms of the quantity and quality of patents, the quality is much higher than the quantity, and the ratio is not 10-to-1, but maybe 100-to-1. In terms of quality, the number of citations of a patent is very critical, just like writing a paper, and the number of citations of the most original patent is more than 400”.

A complete patent portfolio requires cooperation through licensing.

Yi said, “Both the spear and shield should be prepared, especially for unlisted companies. Patents are often reflected in competition, when we consider patents, we do not focus on the quantity of patents we have, but rather the quality. First, you analyze your core patents that represent your shield of protection, which are the most crucial, and at the same time, you can broaden your horizon and look at the patents in comparison to your cooperation. You must have core patents, but your core patents cannot solely comprise a strategic portfolio, so you must see if you can find a related party who is willing to license or transfer his patents to you to provide you with a supplement, your spear. Then, you combine their patents with your core patents which is a very effective strategy. For example, we developed our laser display technology and adopted a completely new technology line, but we also paid full attention to Kodak’s patent situation. We saw that Kodak is in a recession, and we analyzed if Kodak had any good patents that we could purchase or license as an effective supplement to our patents.”

Yi concluded, “People tend to think of patents in terms of competition. But it can also be seen from another latitude, from the perspective of cooperation. We should work together to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, not to engage in knowledge blockade. Patents should not just be viewed from the perspective of competition but from the perspective of competition and cooperation. When we have developed a new product through our own innovation and plan to bring it to the market, we should pay attention to the possibility of someone using the patent to initiate a lawsuit against us. In this process, we must do a lot of risk checking. For example, if you want to enter the U.S. market, you should take the initiative to develop a strategy to cross-license patents and other ways, which will invariably not only eliminate potential patent competitors but also may grant you an additional connection in your space to help you promote this market better. Then, the conflict between competition and cooperation is well resolved”.

IPwe’s Offering

IPwe offers the information and tools to help our clients identify, research, evaluate and transact their patents. Before IPwe, finding the strategic patents to complete one’s portfolio was not technologically enabled and involved an incredible amount of time and high legal fees. The IPwe Platform allows one to easily monetize and transact patents while IPwe’s Smart Pools additionally allows one to access a one-stop-shop to acquire the licenses needed to enter an emerging tech market at a feasible price point. IPwe’s technology stack allows one to replicate Appotronics Corporation Ltd’s astute patent strategy at a substantially lower price point and in an accelerated timeline.

 

[1] https://en.appotronics.com/property.html 

[2] Read Li Yi’s original speech in Chinese: 光峰科技董事长李屹:专利是一种资产,带来的回报比盖楼高(附演讲全文)

 


 

Author and Translator, Henry Wang, President IPwe China

Henry Wang is a seasoned tech entrepreneur, co-founding and managing nationally recognized companies receiving substantial fundraising from top VCs. Henry has 16+ years of experience in IP monetization, localization, technology service outsourcing, and leverages his knowledge of the Chinese market to drive IP business development and sales.

 

About IPwe

IPwe is quickly emerging as creating the industry standard for patent NFTs. IPwe recently announced its partnership with IBM to represent patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). IPwe also has a partnership with CasperLabs to further improve the patent registration process and create a chain of custody (CoC) Solution by using the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data, thereby creating a new approach to patent ownership verification. Patent NFTs are stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, running on the IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network. IPwe anticipates tokenized IP to become commercially available in Q4 of 2021. IPwe operates in more than 50 countries with offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America. To learn more about how IPwe can provide the answers to your IP-related business decisions, Request a Demo of the IPwe Platform on www.ipwe.com.

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

26 October 2021

News

There is no doubt that we are at the beginning of a transformative time for technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the world as we know it. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are set to radically change multiple industries and the patent ecosystem is no exception. Using these emerging technologies to register, manage, assess, and transact patents, opens a new horizon for the implementation of patent strategies. In the past, fundamental limitations and lack of answers resulted in unused patent assets, missed opportunities, and a waste of internal resources. Thanks to recent technological improvements, deploying a comprehensive patent strategy is achievable and owners can finally fully maximize their patent value no matter how you choose to do that—be it adoption, commercialization, monetization or other metrics traditionally associated with asset management and every other asset on your balance sheet.

It is estimated that intangible assets represent around 80% of the value of the S&P 500 [1].  For most startups and technological SMEs, this percentage might be closer to representing  almost the entirety of the company’s value. Because of the type of protection and rights they grant, patents are the strongest type of IP among those intangible assets. In a crowded and fierce technological market, patents protect inventions, provide solutions to technical problems, and allow for the quantification, evaluation, and use of innovation as a competitive and cooperative tool.  Moreover, the current information age brings about a vast spread of technical knowledge and almost unlimited access by anybody from (almost) anywhere to the ideas, technologies, and company products being developed and commercialized all around the globe. This is driving the need for companies to have a vision for global patent strategy now more than ever.

The use of patents or their relevance for a company’s business has been extremely limited and inefficient due to, among other factors, the low quality of patent data, the impossibility to manage and extract (almost any) insight from patents, and the high costs associated with patent tasks. Underused assets are thus a result of the inability to assess in a meaningful and systematic way the strength and competitive position of patents. So much so, that quite often patents have been avoided altogether or filed for the sake of owning a given quantity of them, and a patent strategy has meant filing without a purpose beyond protecting some technical features of those technologies and products developed in-house, while barely dedicating any attention on the asset’s protection value or future exploitation. What this really means is no consideration for building a patent portfolio that has the potential of strengthening market competitive position, fostering, and even creating new business.

Another common issue arises from those patents that have been long forgotten and suddenly revisited within the company, often as a last resort to produce income. Unfortunately, in these cases, only a small number of portfolios can generate any kind of revenue because no substantial patent strategy was initially deployed so it becomes increasingly difficult that these patents, thought-out mostly for defensive purposes, end up having value beyond their in-house use. A second cause is the deficit of in-depth insight on the portfolio, its features and relations to other similar patent protections and market products. This lack of in-depth insight prevents sellers and licensors from accessing the full range of available opportunities, the most suitable path to a successful adoption, commercialization, or monetization, and how to best present to potential buyers, licensees and partners why they should acquire, license or cooperate regarding that specific patented technology.

Now AI-based patent analytics enable a much deeper assessment of the strength of both individual patents and portfolios, regardless of their size. They also provide a portfolio’s patent landscape, which reveals not only how this portfolio is positioned presently, but how new filings or acquisitions could claim new areas of protection that improve its scope and value in the future. In addition, the determination of a portfolio’s patent position supports and makes efficient the thorough analysis of the relationships between the intangible and related market products or services, which defines one of the key factors of patent value: market relevance.

Maximizing value of a patent portfolio is not only about monetizing patents. Patents are complex assets that are difficult for even patent experts to comprehend. For this reason, a good patent strategy must first be able to make the patent asset accessible. When the characteristics of a portfolio and its benefits can be successfully shown so that anybody can grasp them in a general business understanding, the portfolio can start producing value [2]. Patents can substantially impact the capacity of a business for attracting investment or increase its stock pricing since the market and investors can better evaluate the worth of the company’s innovation.

Once this kind of sound knowledge of a portfolio is achieved and turned into insight, following a comprehensive approach for patent strategy, the use of its patent assets can be exploited to its full extent: the ability to identify and proceed with patent-specific strategies, enhanced adoption, commercialization and monetization, filing and acquisition strategies, the assessment of patent-related risk mitigation by detecting potential threats or actively pursuing business opportunities, support of patent-based funding, insurance and much more.

In the new horizon, patent strategies should be dedicated to making patents accessible while expanding protection value in a wide array of solutions. There it is time for patents to be all they can be.

[1] https://www.visualcapitalist.com/intangible-assets-driver-company-value/

[2] https://www.lexorbis.com/top-4-ways-patents-can-skyrocket-your-companys-valuation/

 


Author: Raúl Diaz Morales, Vice President, Patent Advisory Services

Raul Diaz Morales’ experience in the patent business is profound, previously managing multidisciplinary teams in IP firms in Europe and always enjoying being at the intersection where business, technology and patent law meet. Now more than ever, Raul looks forward to finding projects and also new ways to utilize his extensive IP knowledge with patents, technology and helping IPwe’s clients find an innovative edge.

About IPwe

IPwe is quickly emerging as creating the industry standard for patent NFTs. IPwe recently announced its partnership with IBM to represent patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). IPwe also has a partnership with CasperLabs  to further improve the patent registration process and create a chain of custody (CoC) Solution by using the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data, thereby creating a new approach to patent ownership verification. Patent NFTs are stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, running on the IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network. IPwe anticipates tokenized IP to become commercially available in Q4 of 2021. IPwe operates in more than 50 countries with offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America. To learn more about how IPwe can provide the answers to your IP-related business decisions, Request a Demo of the IPwe Platform on www.ipwe.com

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

14 October 2021

News

Traditional patent pools have helped change how we approach patent licensing and monetization. Importantly, they are in legal and business compliance with government and industry standards. The central idea behind patent pooling was to provide an efficient route towards licensing for technology implementers, while collectively rewarding the innovation of patent holders. However, given the high and inefficient costs in which the administrators of traditional patent pools economically prevail over participants, the model for patent pools is ripe for change.

With the increasing complexity and interoperability of modern innovation, patent pooling needs to do much more than just bundling patents and sharing licensing revenue.

For context, the modern smartphone consists of nearly 250,000 distinct patents.[1] 5G technology, which is only a small part of smartphone functionality, is expected to add an estimated 30,000 patents [2] to the fray. Fully unlocking the value of these interconnected patents requires more than just a patent ledger on a worksheet and payment links. It calls for smart patent management, and that’s where IPwe’s Smart Pools come into play.

What are IPwe’s Smart Pools?

IPwe’s Smart Pool is an intelligent program that delivers the benefit of exponential technologies to innovators that want to encourage adoption, maximize business opportunities, and generate a return on their investment, while maintaining maximum flexibility to change direction as future business and market conditions dictate. Like traditional patent pools, Smart Pools consist of two key groups: Founding Members (i.e., patent contributors) who agree to bundle their patent rights – without losing patent ownership – and Members (i.e., licensees), who take a license to the patents contributed to the pool, at an agreed-upon price.

Traditionally, patent pools functioned as a means of facilitating access to interconnected patent technology – a one-stop-shop. But many innovations involve an ecosystem of complementary patents. Some of these patents might be critical to the implementation of innovations, while others are enabled by the sum of its parts. Smart Pools allow the monetization of these patents without the need to pursue licensing on a one-to-one basis and the exorbitant expense that this might entail.

Traditional patent pools are incentivized to allay a fear of patent litigation; but they also encompass high fees and narrow focus and are inefficient in their ability to expand the licensing opportunities available to patent holders. Instead, in a world of more and more complex innovations, patent holders require tools that help them better understand their IP, license them in more innovative ways, and derive higher value from their monetization. Thanks to IPwe’s Smart Pools, they can benefit from a more efficient process that reduces transaction costs and enables a better structured and more coherent licensing strategy. Smart Pools provide cutting edge tools that help patent holders and implementers enjoy these benefits and more.

Why are they important?

Prolific institutions and corporate organizations frequently maintain a portfolio of tens to thousands of active patents. The process of combining and efficiently extracting the value of these patents through licensing is often expensive and inefficient. For instance, patent pools rely on incredible human effort to maintain licensing and revenue sharing activity – often at a cost of millions of dollars yearly. [3] This expense typically contributes to higher licensing costs which are then passed on to licensees.

IPwe’s Smart Pools introduce a more efficient, tech-enabled process that saves on the annual costs of pool maintenance. They ensure that innovators can sidestep the need to build expensive licensing structures, while earning revenue that fuels innovation instead. With these cost savings, patent holders can offer more competitive licensing prices, which can in turn facilitate broader adoption and license saturation.

In addition, Smart Pools provide both patent holders and implementers with the tools they need to make the most of their patent portfolio. These organizations often do not have efficient tools to manage their patents’ assets, and very few entities have the means and expertise to create such tools.

Due to IPwe’s proprietary algorithms and success data, including 14-year accumulating analytics and data – at an investment of $40 million – Smart Pools provide advanced analytics and data-oriented insights that help organizations identify, research, evaluate, and transact in patents. With the AI tools that Smart Pools provide, organizations can easily learn where their patents are best utilized, historical licensing data, and all the information they need to improve productivity for increased transactions and investment. The IPwe Platform productizes Erich Spangenberg’s previous IP strategies in selecting and taking principal positions in companies based on their IP value.  Erich and the IPwe team have earned companies $2.5+ billion.

What are the benefits for patent holders and licensees?

– Lower transaction costs: AI makes pool management easier, removing all of the inefficiencies that drive costs upwards. As a result, more licensees can enjoy access to the bundled patents at competitive rates that preserve their ability to profit from implementation efforts. Two broad areas in which Smart Pools provide an advantage to are search costs and negotiation costs:

– Search costs: Due to the fragmented and incomplete information that patent registries typically include, identifying issued patents is often tasking. Because patents typically use ambiguous titles, and new patents are being issued constantly, implementers require a coherent database that provides a complete and updated list of applicable patents.[4] In Smart Pools, IPwe not only publishes a comprehensive list of included patents and identities of their owners, but also provides detailed references on how each patent is related to the underlying technology.

– Negotiation costs: Innovation is increasingly compared to attempting to climb a pyramid. Each level consists of underlying patents that makes each succeeding innovation possible. However, for sequential innovators to improve on existing processes, they must often negotiate numerous licenses with preexisting patent owners and this likely results in higher licensing fees.[5] Smart Pools remove this barrier to innovation by enabling a single bundled license that benefits from the efficiency gains of a tech-enabled process and its resultant competitive pricing.

– Broader monetization base: Although patent holders wield considerable influence over the patent pooling process, they are not all created equal. Compared to large corporations that can monetize their patents on their own through mass production and implementation, other institutions like SMEs do not have this luxury. To facilitate this mission, IPwe gives SMEs the unprecedented opportunity to get free membership in its Smart Pools, which means free access to top industry patent portfolios, but also peace of mind that high litigation fees will not encompass SMEs’ funding and revenue, while allowing their proprietary ideas to be protected. Full and unfettered access to the Smart Pools’ technology for SMEs is a foundational design of this offering.

– Transparency: IPwe’s Smart Pools implement cutting edge tools based on blockchain and NFT technology to introduce greater transparency and ease into the patent licensing process. All licensing transactions on our platform occur through NFTs which allows patent and licensing information to be centralized in one place. This slashes discovery costs and helps mitigate the risk that some patent information might slip through the cracks.

– Adoption and Innovation: Smart Pools help facilitate faster adoption in tech areas that are very early in the adoption cycle, where there hasn’t been a significant amount of licensing activity. By providing access to cutting-edge technologies on standard terms, Smart Pools drive further innovation in two ways: first, the Pool’s revenue incentivizes and funds the Founding Members’ R&D; second, a single license to a wide patent portfolio encourages implementers to adopt new technologies, safe in the knowledge that they will have access to IP at a transparent and known cost.

[1] Robert P. Merges & Michael Mattioli, Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Patent Pools, Ohio St. L.J., Vol. 78:2, 281, 284 (2017).

[2] See https://www.justice.gov/atr/page/file/1298626/download.

[3] See supra note 1, at 312.

[4] Weimin Wu, Patent Pools and Cumulative Innovation, 46 Rutgers L. REC. 40, 57 (2018-2019).

[5] Id. at 58.


 

Author: Lavinia Meliti, Global Head of Business & Legal Affairs

Lavinia Meliti leads strategy and execution of IPwe’s business and legal initiatives. Passionate about Intellectual Property, she strives to explore its disruption through the escalating integration of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technology. She holds two Juris Doctor degrees in Europe and in the United States, and previously worked as an Attorney in Miami, Florida, focusing on IP and Competition Law matters.

 

About IPwe

IPwe is quickly emerging as creating the industry standard for patent NFTs. IPwe recently announced its partnership with IBM to represent patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). IPwe also has a partnership with CasperLabs  to further improve the patent registration process and create a chain of custody (CoC) Solution by using the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data, thereby creating a new approach to patent ownership verification. Patent NFTs are stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, running on the IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network. IPwe anticipates tokenized IP to become commercially available in Q4 of 2021. IPwe operates in more than 50 countries with offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America. To learn more about how IPwe can provide the answers to your IP-related business decisions, Request a Demo of the IPwe Platform on www.ipwe.com

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

5 October 2021

News

Everybody appreciates standardization. Because of technical standardization, trains can cross borders; mobile phones are operational around the globe; chargers, plugs, and wires work for more than one device; screw drivers match screw heads; money can be wired through undersea cable; drugs can be developed faster, cheaper, and safer; airplanes and ships do not collide in increasingly crowded skies and seas; a Japanese DVD player can read and play US-American DVDs – just to mention a few.

Interoperability is the flagship use case for technical standardization and is often referred to as a key benefit when standardization is mentioned. From an end-user perspective, interoperability seems to be primarily improving comfort and pricing, which are both great achievements. Let’s stick with the train example. If German trains were not compatible with Belgian and French tracks, a train from Berlin to Paris would stop at the German/Belgian border, off-board its passengers and have them switch to a Belgian train. The same would happen at the Belgian/French border. Maintaining multiple border stations and the corresponding railway infrastructure would be expensive and most definitely impact the price of the Berlin/Paris railway ticket. Besides the cost dimension, it is way more comfortable for the passenger to board the train in Berlin and drive through three European countries to Paris.

A question that is addressed less prominently when discussing technical standardization is how does the end-user benefit from technical standardization, beyond the mere interoperability improvement, regarding personal comfort? The answer is features. Good examples can be found in the first iPhone or the Motorola Razr. Companies like Nokia, Siemens, and Ericsson (just to name a few, even back then there were dozens of companies contributing to telecommunication standards) had focused their R&D efforts on developing a basic infrastructure for providing phone calls and internet access through the air interface at a global scale. Under the roof of the 3GPP cooperation, “cordless phone calls and internet access” were solved (and improved consistently since) – providing the nurturing ground for the first smartphone class. Apple could basically “source the technology” by licensing the patents from the innovating 3GPP members and focus its own R&D efforts on an excellent and disruptive user experience. Apple was very successful in doing so by aggregating an array of technologies like touchscreens, the Gorilla Glass, the “slide to unlock” functionality, etc. Motorola could – even though active in 3GPP itself – focus on producing a foldable phone which remains celebrated by fan groups to this day.

Standardization has been booming in the last few decades. Many standardization organizations have been brought into existence and issued a wide range of standards and technical norms. But technical standardization has also attracted other players who quickly understood that standards are of strategic importance. If your technology makes it into the leading standard, it becomes mandatory for everyone to use. Suddenly, the nerdy approach of finding the best solution to a technical problem got an additional dimension: standard politics. Centralized standardization is vulnerable to external influencers like any centralized system, depending on certain staffing and voting rules. Once a tipping point is reached, it is no longer guaranteed that the best technical solution is adopted, it might very well be the technical solution from the “right” or the most strategic submitting entity or country. How could a scenario where politically endorsed solutions take precedence over technically suitable solutions be avoided?

The first step to the answer is easy: by inducing competition. Competition will safeguard that the best solution prevails; best being defined as the best mix of cost and technical benefits. If competition is mentioned to people that are active in standardization, they quickly think of competing standards, like the epic battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD over the succession of DVD technology. But what about a decentralized standardization system? What about the classic factual standards like the CD? The CD used to be proprietary technology of Philips, but its market adoption was so overwhelming that the underlying patents conveyed a market dominant position to its owner – a situation where the monopoly needs to be defused by a pledge to license the technology to all interested parties at fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The currently prevailing centralized institutional standards (so-called de jure standards) make it highly unappealing for one company to try to outsmart the aggregated R&D effort of many, and to establish its own proprietary technology line as the best in-class. The market power of the combined efforts is just too smothering to stand a chance.

One countermovement can be seen in the open-access movements. Free access to essential technology makes it appealing to at least try the technology for cost reasons. But the downside of this approach is that the relationship between the technical foundations and the features is flipped around. Investing in openly accessible technology is an R&D effort that can hardly be recovered if it is given away for free. Therefore, companies will try to work only to some degree on the technical foundations and focus on the features as the selling point of the technologically enabled product. If, however, the features are more important than the technical essentials, “the tail is wagging the dog” and not vice versa. What is required to break the current conundrum is an IP-embracive approach to recover R&D efforts at fair return-on-investment and at the same time makes it appealing to develop features on top of it – effectively lowering the market-access hurdles also for smaller players in the ecosystem.

The solution is a decentralized incubator for emerging technologies – a technology sanctuary in which new solutions thrive, and get their fair chance to be developed, tested, and to succeed. The cornerstones of this approach are simple:

–   The technology contributors cross-license each other and share innovative ideas (post-filing or under NDA as trade secrets). The various solutions compete on the pool-internal market, and the strongest will emerge.

–   The shared technology is licensed to technology subscribers to recover the aggregated R&D effort. The subscribers get access to the technology (and not just freedom-to-operate) and can choose what to adopt from the available tech stack while their focus is on feature implementation. If their features in turn find market adoption, the subscribers can mature into becoming technology contributors themselves.

In combination with seasoned internal voting mechanisms, the incubator for emerging technologies provides a people and technology-driven nurturing ground as an alternative or an addition to centralized standardization.

 


 

Author: Jonas Block, Head of Artificial Intelligence

Jonas Block leads development of IPwe’s technology and novel approaches to dissolve the existing access restrictions and open the global IP commercialization markets for everyone by leveraging a unique combination of AI, blockchain and user-experience. He has a PhD in automated patent licensing and previously worked as a patent litigator in Germany where he focused on cross-border patent assertion and pan-European defensive strategies. He is currently tasked with Artificial Intelligence development and supporting NFT infrastructure design at IPwe.

 

About IPwe

IPwe is quickly emerging as creating the industry standard for patent NFTs. IPwe recently announced its partnership with IBM to represent patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). IPwe also has a partnership with CasperLabs  to further improve the patent registration process and create a chain of custody (CoC) Solution by using the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data, thereby creating a new approach to patent ownership verification. Patent NFTs are stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, running on the IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network. IPwe anticipates tokenized IP to become commercially available in Q4 of 2021. IPwe operates in more than 50 countries with offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America. To learn more about how IPwe can provide the answers to your IP-related business decisions, Request a Demo of the IPwe Platform on www.ipwe.com

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

4 October 2021

News

CasperLabs announces partnership with IPwe to improve the patent registration process and create a new approach to patent ownership verification. The joint chain of custody solution (CoC Solution) will use the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data.

 


The Opportunity

Intellectual Property (IP) is the largest and often most critical asset on most corporate balance sheets. CTOs and CFOs today are taking a greater interest in how IP is tracked, managed and deployed. A first step in the evolution of an improved understanding and management of this critical asset is a reliable CoC solution.

Casper and IPwe will deploy a CoC solution, enabling government entities and some of the largest enterprises in the world to better manage and utilize their IP. As with any asset class, the primary objectives will be met through increased transparency and understanding, and fulfilled through offering solutions that improve financial returns and lower costs.

The Solution

The CoC Solution will be developed in two phases.

Phase 1 will migrate selective, high-value information to the Casper public blockchain. Casper’s solution enables that patent data to be encrypted (all data is encrypted by default, but authors can choose to exclude certain fields from encryption so that it is open for public view), with decryption available only to the parties holding the encryption keys.

Phase 2 will implement a more robust integration with IPwe’s infrastructure to create a Global Patent Registry (GPR) with the Casper blockchain to support a consortium of Patent Owners, National Patent Offices, and Verifiers such as IPwe. GPR will bring the current process of granting, publishing, owning, transferring, and pledging patents onto the Casper blockchain, using smart contracts to manage these processes.

 


 

Check out the full Casper x IPwe case study for an overview of the IP ecosystem and the unique solution being built on the Casper network.

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

27 September 2021

News

Dallas and Paris, Sept. 27, 2021: Blockchain technologies are entering a phase where adoption is accelerating across use cases for NFTs. This is reflected in the contributions made by University Technology Transfer leaders who are active members of the IPwe’s Advisory Committee. In its second meeting, the Advisory Committee hosted leading legal experts in blockchain and NFTs.

In early June, IPwe announced the launch of the Advisory Committee and its Chairman Ian McClure, the Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact at the University of Kentucky, the Chair-Elect of AUTM, and formerly the Executive Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization. The Committee quickly formed, including university technology transfer leaders:

Emily Bauer, Director of Licensing at Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)

Mike Alvarez Cohen, Director, Innovation Ecosystem Development, UC Berkeley OTL,

Jonathan Jensen, Director, Licensing, Office of Technology Development, Salk Institute for Biological Studies,

Marc Sedam, Vice President, Technology Opportunities and Ventures for NYU Langone Health,

Jon Soderstrom, Strategic Advisor, University Technology Commercialization and Faculty Innovation, Yale University,

Ashley Stevens, President, Focus IP Group, LLC, and an IP consultant to a public-private partnership which accelerates research to combat drug-resistant bacteria,

Dr. William Tucker, whose substantial contributions to university technology transfer during his impressive career are well known,

Bin Yan, Director, Office of Technology Transfer, University of Miami.

NYU Langone Heath VP Marc Sedam remarks that:

“The Committee is driving rapid learning about this technology-enabled opportunity, and input from its members to understand the patent NFT design for the needs of university technology transfer. I am excited to be a part of exploring greater value for patents and the innovation ecosystem.”

IPwe has been honored to have the participation of our committee members in helping to design NFTs that are best suited for university tech transfer. Issues ranging from the suitability of blockchain for tech transfer, trust, security, ESG impact, and other topics have been addressed. Cheryl Milone Cowles, who is leading this university NFT project for IPwe, stated that “over two years of effort between IPwe and IBM has gone into this NFT project and from day one the design mission was to create a patent NFT that met enterprise-level standards. A key part of the mission of IPwe and this Technology Transfer Committee is to receive critical input from technology transfer experts and enhance the NFT design to improve results for university innovation.”

As part of this mission, the Advisory Committee for University Technology Transfer has also received presentations from recognized legal experts on core topics, including:

–  Blockchain Smart Contracts, presented by Robert Rando, IP and Complex Litigation Partner at Greenspoon
Marder

Regulation, addressed by Mark Radcliffe, Experienced Silicon Valley Corporate and IP Transaction Lawyer at
DLA Piper

Privacy, covered by Peter Emmi, Tech Transactions Partner, Herb Kozlov, Corporate Partner and Head of
Global FinTech Practice, and Trevor Levine, Associate, at Reed Smith.

These legal experts provided key take-aways from the Advisory Committee meeting. Robert Rando’s objective in presenting smart contracts was to “distill the fundamentals of smart contracts (and Ricardian contracts) for patents NFT and NFT based transactions, identifying the beneficial legal and valuable business advantages/efficiencies derived from its simplicity and transparency.”

For the topic of Regulation, Mark Radcliffe notes that:

“IPwe’s patent NFTs focus on the use case of ownership or provenance, a market valued at $962B by 2030 by PWC. IPwe also has designed its patent NFTs to include traditional assignment and licensing transactions which have not been treated as securities. Although the law of securities as it applies to digital assets remains uncertain, the IPwe design minimizes the risk of a finding that the NFT is a security, but enterprises undermine this design if they promote the patent NFT as a potential investment, which is not the purpose for which IPwe designed the patent NFT.”

Ian McClure describes the progress of the Committee. “We know that reputable research firms are projecting dramatic growth in blockchain adoption for global enterprises, and we want to position university technology transfer to best take advantage of exponential technologies and NFTs to drive university innovation adoption, as applicable. Benefiting from the thought and considerable financial resources that have gone into this effort over the last two years from IPwe and IBM, it is obvious that IPwe and IBM have moved far beyond the novelty phase on NFTs and are working on a product that can make a difference in university technology adoption. The Advisory Committee is now able to educate and have input on design and function.”

IPwe is fortunate to have leading thinkers in the academic community to collaborate on exploring and building patent NFTs to maximize opportunities for this critical asset. With an emerging opportunity at the junction of law and technology, who better to analyze this with than business, technology, and legal scholars from academic and law firm institutions

 


 

About IPwe

IPwe is quickly emerging as creating the industry standard for patent NFTs. IPwe recently announced its partnership with IBM to represent patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). IPwe also has a partnership with CasperLabs  to further improve the patent registration process and create a chain of custody (CoC) Solution by using the Casper public blockchain to store, secure, and trace patent data, thereby creating a new approach to patent ownership verification. Patent NFTs will be stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, running on the IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network. IPwe anticipates tokenized IP to become commercially available in Q4 of 2021. IPwe operates in more than 50 countries with offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America.   

Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

8 June 2021

News

Investors, both speculative and strategic, are adjusting to the emergence of a bold new category of assets—digital collectibles. NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are so called because they are irreplaceable or one-of-a-kind artifacts—effectively, digital “limited editions.”

NFTs trade on blockchains or distributed ledgers, typically without middlemen or brokers. The primary advantage of most blockchains is transparency and efficiency. Agreements are recorded on an open ledger for all to see. This is especially attractive to frequent traders who require accurate pricing and full disclosure for difficult-to-value assets.

Now, two stalwarts in the intellectual property world, IBM and IPwe, believe that NFTs can be used to take patent monetization to new heights. They have teamed up to tokenize patents on the IBM blockchain…But given IBM’s depth in blockchain technology, its expansive patent portfolio, and IPwe’s experience in patent transactions, IP watchers will want to keep a close eye on developments.

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Press Contact
Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing

20 April 2021

News

IPwe today announced plans to begin representing patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or digital assets by working with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to create the infrastructure for representing patents as NFTs and storing the records on a blockchain network. The tokenization of intellectual property (IP) will help position patents to be more easily sold, traded, commercialized or otherwise monetized and bring new liquidity to this asset class for investors and innovators.

Tokenization provides greater transparency and can also make related transactions simpler and more cost-efficient. By representing IP in this way, it can be licensed, sold and commercialized. Organizations can also more easily view the IP as an asset on their balance sheet. While NFTs have been used to represent digital art, sports memorabilia and even iconic Tweets, the early adoption of IP-based NFTs could usher in a transformation of how IP is treated by inventors and enterprises.

“The IPwe Platform is designed to transform the patent asset class by increasing transparency and promoting engagement, which we believe will encourage innovation,” said IPwe CEO Erich Spangenberg. “The use of NFTs to represent patents will help create completely new ways to interact with IP. This is expected to benefit not only large enterprises that have significant intellectual property, but it will bring new opportunities to small and medium enterprises and even individual IP owners. We believe it will usher in new offerings by financial services firms and corporations to promote the evolution of a new patent asset class.”

These NFTs will be stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, hosted on IBM Cloud and powered by IBM Blockchain The IPwe Platform also enables the Global Patent Marketplace, which allows owners and other members of the patent ecosystem to engage and transact, buy, license, finance, sell, research and commercialize patents. IPwe, working with IBM, was the first to create a patent marketplace on the blockchain. The introduction of NFTs will only help accelerate the opportunity for IP, which has been notoriously difficult to manage, value and transact, to be treated as a liquid asset.

IPwe will soon begin trials of its NFTs on the company’s Global Patent Marketplace.

According to IPwe, many enterprises, governments, universities and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around the world are already using their technology, including the IPwe Platform and the IPwe Registry and Global Patent Marketplace. For SMEs in particular, representing patents as digital assets is especially powerful because it allows IP to be treated as collateral or assurance of an organization’s value, also allowing it to be more easily leveraged when seeking funding. The IPwe Registry collects current, active and historical patent records in a single freely accessible registry with enhanced search enabled by IBM AI. A broader ecosystem including financial institutions, insurers, enterprises and other patent stakeholders are planned in the coming months to support the use and exchange of tokenized patents using these new technologies.

IBM and IPwe have worked together for the last three years applying IBM’s deep expertise in blockchain and artificial intelligence to the IPwe Platform to help protect ownership information; generate patent and portfolio analytics; facilitate transactions; reporting and advancements of the next intelligent generation of patent pooling – an agreement among multiple patent holders to jointly license their IP.

“IBM has a long history of leadership in intellectual property and the application of AI and blockchain in business. Our work with IPwe is another example of our collaboration with leading innovators to drive outcomes powered by blockchain capabilities and digital assets that have the potential to transform entire industries,” said Jason Kelley, General Manager, Global Strategic Partnerships, IBM Services. “As businesses increasingly look to transform how they work with intelligent workflows, blockchain technology is a critical tool to increase transparency and reduce barriers.”

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Mia Mixan
Corporate Marketing
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