February 8, 2017
Stock prices are volatile and hard to predict, and even so much as a tweet can have major effects if it comes from the right person. This is because investments come on the basis of how well the business is doing, and there are believers of the theory that stock prices follow earnings. The logic being, if a company posts great earnings results then the stock price is likely to follow suit. According to the Wall Street Daily, a useful piece of information for making wise investments is patent filings. Given that patents are typically filed early in the R&D process, then they can act as an early indicator of stock performance, with a large upturn in patent filings showing that a lot of new, potentially breakthrough developments are being made. A further benefit is that any innovation from these patents is therefore protected, so it is harder for competitors to compete.
Why it Matters
IP is a key piece of a company’s profile and ignoring it can result in a blind spot as to their future potential. It also makes it important for IP owners to both invest in and publicise their patents in order to maximise investments.
Oculus was hit with a Texas lawsuit, after co-founder Palmer Luckey was accused of breaching a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and stealing trade secrets from Zenimax. Zenimax claimed that Oculus were using their research, on account of six staff moving to Oculus from Zenimax. The court ruled that Oculus did not misappropriate trade secrets, but that Oculus did use their copyrighted technology and were guilty of false designation. They also ruled that Luckey failed to comply with an NDA signed when Zenimax shared their technology with Oculus in 2012.
Why it Matters
When a new field emerges, companies will inevitably have differing levels of success and staff will migrate, but this case shows the importance of keeping on top of the IP and putting the right agreements in place when sharing knowledge. Without their copyrights and NDA, Zenimax would have failed to recoup damages from Oculus.
Ahead of hosting the Mobile World Congress event, a court in Barcelona has issued a new procedure for the rapid issue of a preliminary injunction. Injunctions at trade shows are dramatic, and create scenes such as those seen at CES last year where marshals raided and shut down a stall of a Chinese company who were infringing upon patents with their “hoverboard”. The new protocol allows preliminary injunctions to be processed rapidly, with some rulings coming within two days of being received by the court. As companies will use MWC to showcase their new tech, this would be highly damaging to them and as such one can expect competitors to keep a keen eye on the features present in one another’s stalls to try and assess whether they are likely to be infringing
Why it Matters
The UK usually takes 2 months to hear a case for a preliminary injunction, which shows how dramatically quick the turnaround is for this new fast track protocol, and could cause some serious upsets if anyone is given a preliminary injunction during the course of the event.
We recently collaborated with our friends at Octopus Ventures on a blog post about IP topics to consider when launching in the US. Based on some of their recent experiences with major U.S. acquires like Microsoft and Twitter, they’ve found IP and the “IP Story” to play a more important role than one might initially expect.