August 3, 2017
China’s IPO has announced that it has some fields of tech that it considers being a particularly high priority at present. There will be a streamlined examination for patent filings related to energy saving, environmental protection, next-generation information technology, intelligent manufacturing, the Internet, big data, and cloud computing. This shows a major drive towards both IP in China, as well as the expectations regarding the tech areas which are to be the biggest soon.
This could, however, attract the NPEs. IAM recently interviewed COE of Chinese-active NPE GPNE, who said that while “troll” activities will falter due to the lack of discovery in China and large “court stamp fee” will make frivolous lawsuits unattractive, he doesn’t see that as an issue for genuine infringement cases.
Why it Matters
Chinese IP is something of an emerging field in global IP terms and is seen as a key aspect to shape the future patent landscape. These prioritisations could help China emerge as a dominant IP jurisdiction for these technology areas, which will have a major impact on both operating companies and NPEs there.
Inovia recently published their global patent and IP trends indicator, to look at the trends impacting foreign filing strategies. They found some striking trends, with over 73% of their respondents having filed their patents in at least 4 countries (up from 62% in 2015), patent filing rates increasing with over 41% lodging over half their applications overseas (up from 34%) and an increase in filing rates of patent families, with almost ¾ respondents filing 3+ families. This indicates that firms are now seeing overseas territories as more important from an IP perspective, and shows that we can expect increased globalization of IP as countries’ systems become more mature and attitudes move away from a US-centric model as used to be the case. Indeed, the US came out 10th in this year’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce innovation index, a shocking result which shows the US system has suffered of late.
Why it Matters
The global IP landscape is ever changing, and even though IP budgets are being cut, applicants are still filing at higher rates and more broadly than ever before, an increase in the breadth of filings could be an interesting trend to watch in the future.
In the latest instalment of their multi-part examination of LinkedIn’s IP strategy, IPWatchdog has given an overview of how the professional networking platform has grown its portfolio. After finding itself vulnerable to IP attacks, LinkedIn had to grow their portfolio. This can come from two different methods, either by boosting their patent filings, or acquiring patents. While filing your own patents may seem like the better practice in terms of getting your patents aligned with your business, there is actually significant value to come from older patents. Typically, the age of asserted patents is around 8-16 years. This is because older patents are more likely to be fundamental to a technology. This means that a patent filed today would likely not be asserted for 8 years, which means it will have limited defensive value. There is also the factor that with filings reading on competitors, the owner must file broadly to hedge their bets. When acquiring, it’s possible to target assets more selectively. Using this, Linkedin has been able to selectively grow their portfolio via acquisitions to bolster their defensive abilities very effectively while still investing in their own future via filings.
Why it Matters
A patent buyer/seller market is important for a strong IP ecosystem, with older patents being seen as very valuable, and complimentary to a filing strategy. This can allow a player to enter a new market with strong defensive capability, to capitalize from moving away from a sector via patent sales, or to defend themselves if their previous filing strategy wasn’t sufficient to support their current business, as seen by the turnaround in LinkedIn’s fortunes on this front.