Category Archives: Innovation

Roundup of Tech and Developing World Issues

  1. ‘Pharmaceutical Patent Enforcement: A Developmental Perspective’ is an article about the complex issue of how India should deal with pharma patents, taking into accounts its obligations under TRIPS. You may also wish to see our related posts ‘6 Academic Articles on Changing TRIPS and the Global IP System’ and ‘10 Points on the Max Planck Institute’s Declaration on Patent Protection’.
  2. ‘Building Competitive Green Industries’ is a report by infoDev into business opportunities for developing countries in sectors relating to climate change related and clean technology. The report takes the optimistic view that climate change represents an opportunity for developing nations to benefit from development of green and clean technologies. Whether or not one agrees with this it is for developing countries to prepare for climate change as best as they can, and this report presents options they can take.
  3. ‘Making Sense of the CETA’ is a critical analysis the Canadian-European trade agreement. It raises critical questions about how much power a trade agreement should have to interfere with issues of public importance. The reason why we have included it in this post is to highlight the issues that the developing world needs to consider when entering into trade agreements.
  4. A WIPO seminar on the ‘Evolution of Technology Diffusion’ provides insights into the difficulties of transferring innovation around the globe. See a paper here on the same topic.
  5. See here for a McKinsey report on how Southeast Asia can benefit from disruptive technologies.
  6. See here for Mariana Mazzucato arguing for government intervention in markets.
  7. See here for the World Economic Forum’s choice of the top 10 tech innovations of 2014.

What’s Trending in Patents? Illegality for cross-undertakings, Teva v Leo, Wearables, Generics Litigation, China and Innovation Statistics

1. The recent UK Supreme Court decision Servier v Apotex concerned whether patent infringement in another territory is an ‘illegality’ which would be relevant to payment of cross-undertakings. The decision can be found here. IPKat’s post can be found here. Wragge & Co’s post can be found here.

2. We’ve written for IPKat on Teva v Leo (see the decision here, see the post here). However we were interested in the observations of Wragge & Co (see here) which ask whether Birss departed from the Pozzoli test for inventive step, whether he had freedom to do so, and how this may have affected the result.

3. This is not strictly a patent topic, but we hear so much about ‘Wearables’ being an important sector for innovation, we thought we’d mention TechCrunch’s article critically assessing the technology (see here).

4. We liked the present edition of Patent Lawyer (see here), particularly the articles on US patent litigation, software patents and making amendments at the EPO. See our post on the Post-Alice Post-Myriad Post-Mayo World here.

5. A recent Pharmalot article (see here) discusses the fact that more generics are filing for litigation.

6. China continues to be topical. Xconomy wrote about its growth plans (see here). Iam wrote about Chinese R&D spending (see here). A post from Freshfields gives some insights into China’s policies on company acquisition (see here). See our post on China and the Patent system here.

7. PWC’s Strategy& have interesting stats on innovation on their website (see here). See our post 10 Points on Ernst & Young’s Biotechnology Industry Report 2014 ‘Unlocking Value’, here.


Bits and Pieces on Inventive Step, Biotech Patenting, Big Data and Derisking Biotech

1. Here’s a slightly old, but interesting, article we discovered from the Singapore Academy of Law on ‘The Future of Inventive Step in Patent Law’.

2. Today our post ‘An Overview of Biotech Patenting’ was published on K2/Keltie’s blog IPCopy. Our intention was to set the scene for a series of articles which will explore the idiosyncrasies of biotech patenting and how it needs to fit into commercial considerations.

3. We came across this HBR article ‘Let Data Ask Questions, Not Just Answer Them’ which is about use of big data for hypothesis generation, rather than finding solutions. Clearly big data has a lot of evolution to do before it can be fully utilised.

4. We think ‘Target Practice’ on the Life Sci VC blog asks a lot of pertinent questions for people setting up biotech companies. It summarises the commercial considerations that need to go into research projects and suggests approaches that help to minimise risk.


Bits and Pieces: Value of Weak Patents, Assessing CETA and the Contribution of Academic Knowledge to Industry

Here are three publications that caught our eye:

  1. The Value of a ‘Weak’ Patent (see here)

A Monte Carlo simulation is used to value weak patents in this interesting study. Liu finds the value of weak patents to be affected by litigation risk. Whether or not one agrees with this finding it raises interesting questions about the strategies around weak patents, and perhaps helps decision-making on how much resource to devote to them.

  1. Making Sense of the CETA (see here)

This is a study of the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. It is very detailed and has caused controversy. It is of interest to us as providing a possible framework to look at the fairness of trade agreements in general. The study focuses on provisions to allow corporations to seek compensation from governments outside of the regular court system. That will undermine environment protection measures, public health policies and other public interest legislation.

  1. The Contribution of Academic Knowledge to the Value of Industry Inventions (see here)

This study finds that inventors benefit more when they can gain theoretical academic knowledge from universities, rather than simply solutions to specified technical problems. Perhaps this offers insights to how best to university academic knowledge in advancing technological progress.

Patent Bits and Pieces: the Future of the Federal Circuit, When Can You Amend in UK Litigation, Non-Patent Incentives, Patent Pools and Personalised Medicine

Here’s a collection of interesting items we recently came across:

1. ‘Coming of Age for the Federal Circuit’ is a paper by Professor Feldman about what the Supreme Court is trying to tell the Federal Circuit through recent decisions.

2. A recent UK High Court decision, Compactgtl v Velocys & Ors, sets out when amendments are allowable during litigation. See the decision here. See the IPKat post about it here.

3. ‘Patentable Subject Matter and Non-Patent Innovation Incentives’ is a paper by Lisa Ouellette asking Courts to think about non-patent incentives to assist in defining what is patentable.

4. ‘Patent Law’s Problem Children: Software and Biotechnology in Trans-Atlantic Context’ is a paper by Dan Burk examining the issues around patenting software and biotechnology.

5. ‘Power and Governance in Patent Pools’ by Michael Mattioli studies 52 patent pools to see how they operate and proposes initiatives which could help patent pools promote innovation.

6. ‘Reviving the Paper Patent Doctrine’ by John Duffy explores whether Courts should discriminate against enforcement of patents which are not practiced.

7. ‘Incentives, Intellectual Property, and Black-Box Personalised Medicine’ by Nicholson Price II looks at the patenting of personalised medicine inventions based on algorithms in view of the Mayo, Myriad and Alice decisions.

8. ‘Personalised Medicine and Patent Eligibility’ by Steven Amundson looks at the effect of the Akamai, Mayo and Classen decisions on patenting personalised medicines.


How Patents Contribute to Academia, Economics and Society

Patents are important, complex and bring up controversial issues that affect many people. This post briefly examines some of the issues around patents that would be of interest to people in other sectors.

1. Language and claim construction

Much has been written about how to interpret claims, and claim construction is often pivotal to the outcome of litigation particularly in the US. Indefiniteness was the subject of a recent US Supreme Court decision Nautilus (see here). Clearly there is an inherent uncertainty in language which will always be there. In addition in certain territories the claims are also the basis of a doctrine of equivalents or ‘purposive’ construction.

Claim construction can therefore help us to formulate theories of how to approach text (see here).

For further academic articles about claim construction see here, here, and here.

2. Morality of Biotech Inventions

In Europe the Biotech Directive (see here) has given guidance on biotech inventions which are considered unpatentable for morality reasons. Subsequently the Brustle decision tackled the patentability of embryo stem cells (see here). Whether or not one agrees with these it is a platform to discuss and formulate a ‘European’ view of morality. That can then feed into discussions such as these.

3. Post-Structuralism

Patents are complicated and take place in the context of human systems. That means we must be aware of the limits in understanding them to the extent imposed by ‘post-structuralism’, i.e. there may not be an underlying ‘structure’ or ‘right answer’ in a situation. That means for any given situation it may not be possible to achieve complete certainty to ‘is this claim scope patentable?’ or ‘how much is this patent worth?’.

4. Patents and Economics

How do patents affect innovation? Generally of course patents are judged to be good incentives for promoting innovation (see here). However the situation is complex and there is evidence that patents inhibit the subsequent development of an invention by other parties (see here). Clearly the answers to these questions will also vary from country to country (see here).

5. International Relations

Each nation has agreed to respect other nation’s patent rights. However there have been accusations that this can lead to a sort of neo-colonialism (see here). Clearly this is a complex issue, but the power of IP monopolies means they can conflict with national interests. However harmonisation of IP laws has also demonstrated the power of countries to work together and to develop joint institutions such as the European Patent Office.

6. Ways of Doing Research: Open Innovation

The traditional way of doing research and then patenting is being challenged by the rise of open innovation and collaborative models of research. This leads to the question of how the patent system should respond (e.g. for defensive patent licencing see here), and whether in fact it is time to get rid of it altogether (see here).


Top Tech Blogs

Tech blogs have huge numbers of visitors and are therefore an important way of disseminating news about the latest developments in technology. We’ve listed the most popular and our favourites below.

1. Mashable – 24 million visitors a month.

2. Gizmodo – 23.5 million visitors a month.

3. TechCrunch – 15 million visitors a month. We like this site. Whilst many articles are on very specific developments or new phone releases, there are also articles which are analyse the overall trends to understand what is happening in the tech space.

4. Engadget – 14 million visitors a month.

5. Wired – 13 million visitors a month. We like the mix of articles the Wired provides, with the odd political, social or historical story thrown into the tech topics.

6. TechRepublic – 4.5 million visitors a month.

7. VentureBeat – We like this site for articles that provide analysis of the tech space.

8. Fast Company – Not really a tech blog, but nicely written articles on new developments in lots of different areas.

9. Techdirt – a political blog with a lot interesting reactions and opinions to everything that is happening.

You may also wish to see related posts on Patent Blogs and 10 Points on Using Online Patent Databases.