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Mike Lloyd

Mike Lloyd


Mike first developed an interest in patent data when working as a research scientist, and deepened this interest when working as an IP manager which led to his role at Griffith Hack. Mike has published in the areas of chemical engineering, patent management, the value of patents and the use of patent data in in a wide range of publications and forums, including the international journals Les Nouvelles, and Managing Intellectual Property.

In a recently published blog post  I discussed how rapid and simple the use of Cluster Searching can be.

Yesterday the US Supreme Court ruled on Commil v. Cisco, arguing a belief that a patent was invalid was not a defence in a finding of inducement.

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One of the tasks that patent managers get called upon to do from time to time is patent due diligence during the buying or selling of companies. In theory a good due diligence assessment should include a patent attorney review of the every patent of the company concerned. Unfortunately in practice there is rarely the budget to do this, meaning that due diligence assessment is often limited to:

  • A simple legal check, namely that the patent details such as numbers are correct. While undoubtedly important, this is only part of the picture
  • A superficial review of some of the leading patents
  • A warranty provided by the vendor that they know of no IP issues. While these warranties are most likely provided in good faith, just because an IP risk is not know about does not mean that it does not exist.

I think we would all agree that a more comprehensive assessment is a good thing, but few of us have unlimited budgets. Ideally, this review would cover the following areas:

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Fujifilm vs Motorola (California Northern District Court, Case No. 3:12-cv-03587) wrapped up last week, with the Jury ordering Motorola to pay Fujifilm US$10.2 million for its infringement of claims 1, 7 and 11 of US6144763. The jury also found infringement of US6915119, but then that the asserted claims 1, 13, and 35 of this patent were obvious. 

Altogether, five patents were asserted by Fujifilm in this case:

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Cluster Searching is available for commercial access and free trials to qualified applicants. Cluster Searching is accessed via a very simple online interface, as shown below

SampleSearch.jpg

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Google is now recognised as one of the world's leading companies, with one of the world's leading brands and 53,000 employees.  But not so many years ago, Google was just a couple of friends at Stanford University. One of them, Larry Page, filed a patent application on 10 January 1997 for what eventually became known as the 'Page Rank patent' , which is nerd humour for a patent filed by Larry Page for ranking the importance of web pages. (Check out the excellent description of this invention found here).  This in turn became one of the key concepts that underpins the now ubiquitous Google search engine.

This patent, and 10 closely family members, were originally the property of Stanford University, and in 2007 were all assigned to the National Science Foundation. The most important of these is the first first, US6285999 for a Method for node ranking in a linked database. This has an AmberScore value of 53, or 53 times the average value for US patents, which may not surprise many. This high score partiy reflects the fact that this patent has been cited 716 times to date - it is clearly an important patent.

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Nest Labs are a great example of a company that is helping to develop the ‘internet of things’. Founded by two former Apple engineers in 2010, the company was attracting major venture capital funding within months. Google Ventures invested in the company in 2011, with parent company Google buying out the whole company for $3.2 billion in January 2014. 

Nest have to date developed two types of products, being a home thermostat and fire alarm. Both are interesting choices in that home thermostats and fire alarms have both been around decades, and are commonly available at very low price points. However in both cases Nest have added value by incorporating smart features often based on internet access and control, and also through producing some of the most attractive home appliances I have personally seen for many years.

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Apple has just been ordered to pay $530 million for infringement of a trio of patents owned by Smarflash LLC that refer to ecommerce of media items from a central resource, in this case alleged to be infringed by Apple's iTunes, and Smartflash are also litigating against Samsung, Google and Amazon.

In a previous blog we looked at the citation based relationship between these patents and patents filed by Apple and other companies.

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NPE patent owner Smartflash LLC has just won a $532 million judgement against Apple , on the back of three patents filed for Data storage and access systems being:

Which Smartflash alleged were infringed by Apple's iTunes's system, and which the jury confirmed.

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One of the most economically important reasons for patent searching is to help invalidate patents. In recent years crowdsourcing platforms such as Article One, BluePatent and Patexia run competitiors in which prior art searchers compete to find the best prior art to patents and inventions in return for prizes. Prizes on offer have ranged up to $50,000 or higher, but the prizes on offer by Article One at the date of this blog were US$4500, while Patexia were offering $5000 prizes. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_crowd_20150223-044836_1.jpg

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Arstechnica has today reported that Intellectual Ventures has just successfully asserted two of its patents in litigation against Symantec. These two patents were part of a trio of patents asserted in the same litigation, namely: 

  • US5987610Computer virus screening methods and systems, filed in 1998. This has an AmberScore value (predicted patent importance) of 18.0, which is excellent and much higher than the average AmberScore value of 1.0 for granted US patents. The AmberScope network for this patent can be found here, and this shows how it fits in the centre of a large network.
  • US6073142Automated post office based rule analysis of e-mail messages and other data objects for controlled distribution in network environments, filed in 1997. AmberScore value of 29.6.
  • US646050Distributed content identification system, filed 1999. AmberScore value of 21.1.

While the '050 patent was not found to be infringed, it was found to be valid.

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