Intellectual Ventures Microsoft GSK and Elephants – Thoughts on IAM Magazine Issue 36 Jul Aug 09

Particularly worth a read in this issue is the article on Intellectual Ventures. It includes a handy update, and further insight into things such as their tech transfer partnering program, their roll-out across Asia, their current size (~550 employees), their investment funds, their strategic investors (including Microsoft, Verizon, Sony, Intel and Nokia), their invention program (77 issued patents & 1862 pending applications), their patent portfolio (27,000 assets to date), their financial returns ($1 Billion to date), some example deal structures and their business model.

3 interesting things in this issue of IAM Magazine were:
(1) The twice yearly ‘Practice Business Review’ sessions held at Microsoft and their ongoing efforts to quantify the value that the IP function adds;
(2) Despite great strides made by numerous large pharmaceutical companies, Oxfam still finds much to complain about rather than congratulate and collaborate about; and
(3) William Barret’s piece on crazy inventions and their place in allowing innovation (and invention?) to flourish – particularly when contrasted with Craig Opperman’s piece on the ‘Elephant in the Room’ (which basically highlights the elderly chestnut that senior executives should focus on patent quality, not quantity).

Most surprising was the quote: “At present we don’t have a coherent, unified approach to applying antitrust principles to IP-related activities and transactions.” from Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Chief Intellectual Property Officer.  Actually, after the initial surprise, it makes a great deal of sense.  The overlap between IP and Competition law is incredibly complex, particularly when you overlay the many differences that arise across national boundaries.

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