February 15, 2018
While it is hard to compare the strength of the world’s patent offices, there are various indexes that are used to attempt just this. Getting a bad score on one index alone isn’t necessarily all that bad, as it might just be the case of underperforming in a couple of the factors that go into making the score. However, if multiple indexes are coming out badly, then it’s not possible to rely on this fallback, and you genuinely are behind the competition. That is the harsh reality that the USPTO will have to face up to in light of the most recent measures. The latest Bloomberg innovation index was published in January and saw the US fall outside the top 10 for the first time ever, and this has been followed up by the release of the US Chamber of Commerce IP Index which saw the US come in at a lowly 12th.
Why it Matters
Traditionally, US patents have been seen as the most valuable. However, recent years have seen no changes in spite many people calling their system “broken”. The US system suffered in the Bloomberg index because of the education-efficiency category (related to having recent graduates in the labour force) and value-added manufacturing, while other nations have R&D tax incentives and better funding for innovation. The US Chamber report cites uncertainty due to recent interpretations of SCOTUS decisions, particularly Myriad, Mayo and Alice. With the Unitary patent on the horizon, and other nations improving their IP, the US system needs something to change if it wants to get back to number 1.
No, it’s nothing to do with logging accelerometer movements when you drop your phone back into your pocket. While using demographics for targeting content at the most applicable user groups is nothing new, Facebook has filed a patent application for what must be a tricky attribute to nail down from your social media usage. They want to protect their method of working out how rich you are from what you post.
Why it Matters
Social media and targeted content is a key feature of online life and is one of the major differentiators over old-style media where users had to self-categorize what content they get by choosing the newspaper that suits them. Being able to target people based on socioeconomic qualities could keep Facebook in the game, since they have struggled recently in the wake of fake news and a slowdown in user posts. It still remains one of the giants of the web, and this tech may help keep them ahead of their rivals.