IP Recap #40

November 16, 2017


Softbank is Eyeing Uber



The Story
This year has been somewhat difficult for Uber, with London suspending Uber’s license to operate, plus the ongoing stolen IP suit with Waymo. This comes as the company is investing heavily in their self-driving tech as they look to move away from their drivers. To help kick-start their future, it looks like Uber is potentially going to get investment from Softbank.

Why it Matters
Aside from the obvious cash injection that would come with Softbank’s investment, there may be additional benefits in the form of partnerships and know-how exchanges with their other investments. This would allow Uber to benefit from the IP in many of the relevant tech companies Softbank has investments in or even owns outright. Examples include Boston Dynamics whose Robotics tech may be of use to self-driving cars, or even ubereats; Brain Corps, whose AI is an obvious fit for self-driving cars; Nauto, a self-driving cars startup. There could well be an IP angle to this deal which could help Uber.

RPX Expanding into China



The Story
As we reported back in June 2016, NPEs were moving away from the US as their assertion jurisdiction of choice. Since then, the US has taken further measures to be less attractive to NPEs, such as removing the ability to choose the court and to require detailed evidence of infringement in case filing. Meanwhile, Europe is yet to begin the UPC system, so NPEs may be waiting for this before they fully take advantage of Europe’s licensing opportunities. A further development, revealed to IAM by RPX, is the Maturing of Chinese IP systems via the launch of 3 specialist courts. As a result, RPX is looking to invest in more resources focussed on China.

Why it Matters
As NPEs expand their business model into new territories, new companies will find themselves targeted. For companies whose business in some ways actually depends on an NPE threat, this also creates a new market for them, as they can provide their anti-NPE services to companies looking to defend themselves against the growing threat.

Apple’s Purchase brings over 100 cutting-edge tech patents


iphone camera technology patents

The Story
There is tense competition for market share in the smartphone industry, and companies are always looking to find an edge over their competitors. Cameras are seen by many as a key differentiator, which is probably why Apple recently purchased imaging tech company InVisage, a US semiconductor research firm known for their image sensor tech. Patentlyapple have had a look at their patent portfolio to see what could be brought to Apple’s products. Their patented tech includes quantum dot imaging sensors for smartphones, depth sensitive imaging and much more.

Why it Matters
The player that sits behind much of the camera battles is Sony, who at present supplies Apple with their camera tech in Apple’s iDevices. This likely costs Apple a lot of money. By bringing camera tech in-house via an innovative firm, they could be able to take a bigger slice of their own revenues.

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