May 24, 2017
In June 2014, Elon Musk stated that “patents are a lottery ticket to a lawsuit.” For that reason, he was avoiding patents whenever possible and making his electric vehicle patent portfolio open to all free of charge “in good faith”. He wasn’t the only EV patent holder to do this. We wrote about this move by Tesla, Toyota, and Ford back in 2015 and pointed out that while this appeared to be a nice gesture on the face of it, it was clearly driven by a desire to influence technology adoption.
Why it is Interesting
According to the IPWatchdog article by Steve Brachmann, Tesla Battery patents further proof of Elon Musk’s duplicitous views on patents, Musk clearly has an agenda and his battery technology is a huge part of this. Tesla has not stopped seeking patent protection on its innovations. If the open innovation efforts work and his EV technologies are the most adopted and built upon, then his batteries will be the core of his business.
Patents clearly matter and aren’t just a tool for frivolous litigation.
In their most recent federal budget, the Canadian government has announced a national intellectual property strategy. At this point, it is just a call for an IP strategy, but it’s a start in the right direction for harnessing locally grown innovations. Back in February, Jim Balsillie, from Blackberry was quoted by CBC News stating –
“Innovation without a national IP (intellectual property) strategy is philanthropy. You invent it and invest in it, and others get the benefits. The most important thing, if you want this to be an innovation budget, is to have a national IP strategy…Just because you invent it, it doesn’t mean you get the money for it.”
Why it is Interesting
IP is an integral part of global expansion. Next month some of the top IP professionals and practitioners from around the world will be attending the 10th annual IPBC conference in Ottowa. According to the event website –
“the event will also focus on key policy developments in Europe and North America, and hone in on the views of influential C-suite executives with keynote presentations from the CEO and CTO of prominent, cutting-edge businesses.”
One of the sessions is dedicated to Policy Priorities and both Konstantinos Georgaras (Director general, corporate strategies, and services, Canadian IP Office) and Mark Schaan (Director general, marketplace framework policy branch, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) are on the panel.
We look forward to learning more about Canada’s IP strategy and contextualizing it with the government agency and economic discussions/projects we’ve been involved in.
Google has recently been awarded a patent for a system which takes the idea of Shazam, whereby listeners can audio search and get told what they’re listening to, and goes one step beyond. In the patent, Google describes a system where the system is always listening, which enables it to contextualize searches made. This might sound like a bit of a niche idea, with limited uses, but it could be immensely useful, as you could ask questions such as “Who directed this?” Once you realize that, it makes asking “Who directed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford?” sound incredibly clunky and old hat. It could easily integrate into Android phones, although the current move towards voice controlled speakers such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa are another obvious use.
Why it Matters
AI systems are set to change the world, with many of the big names absorbing smaller AI-based companies, or developing the tech in house. Combining that with the devices which are gradually finding space in many peoples’ lives, such as smartphones, voice controlled speakers or even connected cars. Using the data from around you to contextualize your interactions with these devices is a big deal within a growing market, and Google is already making moves into protecting what could be key concepts.
With the ever-decreasing improvements between hardware from one smartphone generation to the next, AI is seen as the next key battleground for manufacturers looking to differentiate their devices, and Google seems to be a step ahead of the pack on this front.
Benoit Geurts quoted in Business Insider
Back in March, our Director Benoit Geurts was quoted in the Business Insider in reference to Uber hiring Cambridge Professor Zoubin Ghahramani
“Professor Zoubin Ghahramani’s recruitment by Uber cements the Cambridge area as a hotbed for talent in AI and machine learning, and illustrates the commercial implications for machine learning, but also highlights the serious concern over academic poaching having a negative impact on AI research. This is especially true when you consider 40% of the AI patents filed in 2016 were assigned to academic institutions. The key challenge for Cambridge, however, will be to retain talent locally and to support promising IP-rich start-ups through their growth.”
Progress Update on the European Investment Bank Western Balkans Economic Development project
ClearViewIP will be attending Tech Open Air Berlin July 13 and 14. We look forward to meeting many innovative people and companies while we’re there.