It may be somewhat ironic that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published in the last week of 2010, a year with a boat load of questionable patent filings and approvals, a patent application from IBM, which automates the management of intellectual property and comes with a “defend” module to formulate a strategy in the case of patent infringement.
The right to protect inventions and intellectual property from being copied in a frivolous way is one of the foundations of a rewarding economy, but a loose control and oversight in fact can have the opposite effect and we are witnessing astonishing lawsuits based on IP infringement claims every day. A few days ago, Microsoft co-founder revised his rampage against Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo. There is an ongoing trial involving a key Wi-Fi patent. And we are lost in confusion who is suing whom over what in the smartphone arena. The latest entrants are Sony and LG: Sony claims that LG infringes on 7 Sony mobile phone patents.
Those with massive IP holdings, whether they are used for products or not, may now hope for an efficient software, or at least procedure, how to organize a patent mess from the beginning to end. The components are divided in a “direct” portion, which includes the overall strategy such as R&D, portfolio, filing, budgeting and forecasting. “Control” covers factors such as market alignment, invention evaluation, IP valuation, and inventor training. “Execute” includes trade secret protection, trademark creation, IP landscaping, technology monitoring, and competitive intelligence.
Argh! I've said it so many times it's lost all meaning!