Blawg Review #185

Welcome to Blawg Review #185.

As this Blawg Review hits the blawgosphere, enthusiasts in Germany, Switzerland and Austria will be waking up with fond memories of yesterday’s Inventor’s Day, So, albeit a day late, our best wishes for a festive and reflective day to commemorate past, present and future inventors.

The birthday of Hedy Lamarr, 9 November, was chosen as Inventor’s Day not because she was an ‘Edison’, but because the Austrian-born Hollywood diva ‘tried to realise her idea’. And oh what an idea it was – an early form of spread spectrum communications technology – key to wireless communication, even today. For those who can’t resist, here’s her US patent – US 2,292,387.

So let’s celebrate the spark of creativity, the spirit of innovation that keeps the world of IP and the wider world beyond such an exciting and ever-evolving space.

For a look at some of this year’s best inventions, check out TIME’s Best Inventions of 2008. (Thanks to Securing Innovation for drawing our attention to this fun and interesting read.) On the light hearted side – ever wondered who invented the pet rock and how much they made? Check out this sound clip from the movie Office Space. And if you’re looking for some sound, punchy IP advice, look no further than the IPKat’s ‘Best IP advice’ post and competition.

Ok, so down to business – in keeping with what we do best, the theme of Blawg Review #185 is global intellectual property strategy.

As we’ve mentioned before, the concept of ‘terrain’ is an integral part of any strategy. So, for this week’s Blawg review, we’ll look at some of the recent major (monumental?) changes to the IP terrain and tell you about some of our favourite blog posts covering them. In particular, we’ll take a look at US Presidential elections, the economic downturn and we’ll take a quick look at Bilski which has profound effect for software and business process patents.

Obama Administration


©2008 Jack Theilepape

According to many, a major change to the global terrain will sweep in next January when President-elect Barack Obama takes office. (See the new President’s election night candid under CC-licence on Flickr, and final Presidential campaign speech on YouTube.)

So what will the Obama presidency mean for US and global IP law and policy? A great place to start is the Science, Technology and Innovation agenda on the Change.gov site which was launched by the Obama team on 6 November.

There are also plenty of fantastic blog posts on the subject. On the ever-brilliant IAM blog, Joff Wild highlights some of the decisions facing Obama in relation to key IP appointments, patent reform, the USTR Special 301 and IP in bilateral trade negotiations, and how the US will position itself at the WTO and WIPO in relation to IP.

Jim Singer at IP Spotlight has an excellent post on what the Obama Presidency might mean for copyright and media regulation, patent prosecution and clean technology investment in the US. At Patent Baristas, Stephen Albainy-Jenei looks at how the new Administration might impact technology and patents in the US and improve American competitiveness. A post by William New at Intellectual Property Watch canvasses reactions and predictions from IP and Tech communities regarding Obama’s victory and the likely impact for IP around the globe. Patent Docs also boasts a couple of great posts on the subject, one covering reactions to the Obama victory from biotech and IP communities and the other analysing Obama’s technology platform.

On a lighter note, Mark Reichel of Daily Dose of IP brings us some unsuccessful US trade mark applications pertaining to the new President-elect…

From a Global IP Strategy perspective – if change is coming, think long and hard about how it will affect the terrain you work in – how can you best position yourself for the future? What new IP legislation will there be? What new regulation? Will there be new opportunities? How will you find and make the most of them?

Economic downturn

©2008 Bearman

The global economic downturn is of course another series of events that is altering not only the IP terrain, but many facets of business and personal life. In the past week, Sara-Jayne Adams at IAM has reported cautious bidding at the most recent Ocean Tomo IP auction. Eva Lehnert at IP finance covers a recent survey by YouGovPolimetrix showing the impact of the economic downturn on how consumers perceive brand value. Also this week Stephen Albainy-Jenei at Patent Baristas and Kristie Prinz at The California Biotech Law Blog discussed the recent lack of initial public offerings in the biotech sector.

So too, there are some great thoughts on how to manage your IP in the midst of economic uncertainty. Intellectual Property Intelligence Blog directs readers to a New York Times article on how to generate, promote and manage innovations in the current economic climate. Their selected quote from the article ‘The worst thing that a company can do right now is go into hibernation, into duck-and-cover’. Innovative Economy recommends innovation as the cure for economic stress. Sure thing – if you have the resources.

From a Global IP Strategy perspective – there are obviously many challenges and opportunities here. What are you doing to prepare? Aim to streamline your internal IP processes so that you emerge leaner and more competitive. Also think carefully about how to streamline your external IP interactions to make them more strategic and more cost effective.

In re Bilski and software and business method patentability in the US

On 30 October the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit handed down its decision in In re Bilski,a ruling that limits the patentability of software and business methods. The Court ruled that a process is patentable if ‘it is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or it transforms a particular article into a different state or thing’. This week a number of blog posts added to the plethora of great analysis of the decision available – see IP Blawg, Patent Baristas, IP Spotlight, and Peter Zura’s 271 Patent Blog to name a few.

Patently-O also has a great post by Professor Christopher M Holman of Holman’s Biotech IP Blog fame on the impact of Bilski on biotechnology and the life sciences and another post by Dennis Crouch on software claim drafting in light of Bilski. Ataxingmatter looks at the decision’s application to tax strategy patents.

From a Global IP Strategy perspective – this decision clearly has ramifications well beyond just business method patents, and well beyond the shores of the US. Put this together with the recent request by Alison Brimelow, European Patent Office President for a Review by the Enlarged Board, and you know that large changes are afoot. Are you ready?

Thanks so much

Thanks for visiting us for Blawg Review #185. As always, please do add your comments and suggestions. Next week’s Blawg Review will be hosted at Res Ipsa Blog.

Have a great week and see you on Friday for our regular editions of the IP Think Tank Global Week in Review.

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

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