Clean & Green: A Sensible Approach to IP Protection for New Energy Innovation
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Clean & Green: A Sensible Approach to IP Protection for New Energy Innovation

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A short overview of IP issues relevant to clean and green tech startups (and others as well).

A short overview of IP issues relevant to clean and green tech startups (and others as well).

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  • My granddad’s electric car.
  • Philosophical tension between purpose of tech and realities of IP… Kum ba Ya All-out war There’s some of both…!
  • My background and interest Why I like the Eco-patent commons. Set up by IBM and other in Jan. 2008. Contributed __ patents. As has been demonstrated by the open source software community, the free sharing of knowledge can provide a fertile ground for new collaboration and innovation. Sharing environmental patents can help others become more eco-efficient and operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner — enabling technology innovation to meet social innovation. The Eco-Patent Commons provides a unique leadership opportunity for global business to make a difference - sharing their innovations in support of sustainable development. How it works. Does not bar use of patents outside the pool. Hoping they have good patents in there… See materials for info.
  • Background… What are variable speed turbines. Why good. Improve efficiency. GE has several patents. Has stopped importation. Now going for damages… Presumably price for turbines cheaper if more sellers… more adoption… Yes…
  • Lack of proactive approach. Critical strategic errors. Stuff that affects the bottom line and value of company.
  • # of U.S. patents in litigation as of 2008 Average patent litigation fees/costs (for disputes between $1-25M) possible duration Poll – who’s been involved in patent litigation
  • NAME OF CASE NATURE: WILLFUL INFRIGNEMENT…! NO KUM BA YA HERE
  • NAME OF CASE NATURE: WILLFUL INFRIGNEMENT…! NO KUM BA YA HERE
  • (images; 3D; textual works; source code!)
  • Building on someone’s land Looking for Space Business Intelligence PROCESS – DESCRIBE TECHNOLOGY (AS SPECIFIC AS YOU CAN BE) WHAT YOU GET why? why not? innovation reality – simultaneous invention (light bulb; dna; solar cells…!) - Cost
  • WHETHER YOU WILL GET A PATENT – WHO KNOWS… WHETHER THE PATENT WILL BE WORTH ANYTHING WHETHER YOU WILL EVER SUE SOMEONE (OR BE SUED) WHETHER ANYONE WOULD EVER LICENSE THE TECH? WHETHER YOU WILL ACTUALLY DEVELOP AND COMMERCIALIZE THE TECH – WHO KNOWS!!! WHAT IS CERTAIN – IF YOU DON’T FILE, YOU WILL HAVE NO PATENT – FOR ANY STRATEGIC PURPOSE GATHER YOUR TECH REGULARLY – BUNDLE IT AND FILE IT. Provisionals rock. THEN YOU HAVE A YEAR TO PLAY.
  • Sounds like victorian fiction - or a strange play But no joke. A Cautionary Note A few things to consider and know! Especially for companies in rapid innovation mode.

Clean & Green: A Sensible Approach to IP Protection for New Energy Innovation Clean & Green: A Sensible Approach to IP Protection for New Energy Innovation Presentation Transcript

  • Clean and Green: A Sensible Approach to IP Protection for New Energy Innovation December 8, 2009 Ernest W. Grumbles III Robert A. Kalinsky
  • ITEMS
    • A STUDY IN CONTRASTS
    • WORST-CASE SCENARIOS
    • IP IN 4 SLIDES
    • PATENT SEARCHING FOR BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
    • FILING EARLY AND OFTEN
    • REAL WORLD, CLEAN AND GREEN IP
    • STRANGE POLICY TWISTS
  • Tesla
  • Nikola Tesla – solar pioneer
  • A STUDY IN CONTRASTS
  • THE ECO-PATENT COMMONS
    • Pool of Eco-Patents for Public Use – royalty-free
    • Est’d by IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony w/ World Bus. Council for Sust. Dev.
    • Over 100 patents so far
  • GE v. Mitsubishi (S.D. Tex.)
    • Variable Speed Turbine Patents
  • WORST CASE SCENARIOS Pt. 1
    • No ownership or control of your inventions
    • Loss of information secrecy
    • Loss of patent rights
    • Ambiguous or weak patent rights
    • No real IP plan
  • WORST CASE SCENARIOS Pt. 2
    • Use of someone else’s trade secrets
    • Use of someone else’s patent rights
    • Involuntary patent or trade secret litigation
    • Injunction and damages from use of third party rights
  • Patent Litigation: Sport of Kings
    • 3,500
    • $2.5M
    • 2-3 years
    • injunction; lost profits; royalties; attorney’s fees
  • Akeena Solar v. Zep Solar (N.D. Cal.) Solar Cell Mounting Bracket Patent
  • Maxwell Technologies v. NessCap, Inc. (S.D. Cal.) Ultracapacitors
  • CLEAN AND GREEN IP IS:
    • LIKE THE REST OF THE IP WORLD
    • IT’S ABOUT
      • INNOVATION
      • IMPROVING THE WORLD
      • AND MAKING $
  • IP in 4 Slides: Patents
    • Statutory protection for inventions
    • Protects: devices, systems, methods of use/mfg
    • Up to 20 years of protection
    • $15K-30K to get one
    • 1 year from sale or disclosure to file – or no US patent
  • IP in 4 Slides: Trade Secrets
    • Statutory protection for confidential competitive info
    • No registration
    • No cost – aside from security
    • Perpetual (in theory)
    • Quick death – if you let them out
  • IP in 4 Slides: Trademarks
    • Common law and statutory protection for brands/trade dress
    • State and Federal
    • Registration best
    • $1-4K to get registered
    • Perpetual – but use them or lose them
  • IP in 4 Slides: Copyright
    • Statutory protection for creative works
    • Federal only
    • Register so you can sue
    • $35 to register
    • Time of protection
  • Look Before You Leap: the Virtues of a Patent Search
    • What
    • What You Get
    • Why / Why Not
    • Innovation Reality
    • Process
    • Timing
  • Patent Filing Strategies
    • New Tech = uncertainty
    • Don’t sweat – just file
    • Early
    • Often
    • Cheap
    • Time-manage expense
    • $110
  • The Destruction of Novelty
    • Sales
    • Offers
    • Public Displays
    • Public Use
    • Time Limits
    My Patent Rights 2009
  • REAL WORLD, CLEAN AND GREEN IP - Filing Strategies
    • Traditional Approach
    • Linear Approach
    • “ Bull's-eye” Approach
  • Filing Strategies – Traditional Approach Innovation Time
  • Filing Strategies – Linear Approach Time
  • Filing Strategies – Bull's-eye Approach
  • Example Patent Filing*
    • 12. A system, comprising:
    • a server operable to communicate with a power grid operator and with each of multiple electric resources connected to a power grid; and
    • a charging manager connected to the server and operable to receive an energy generation signal from the power grid operator and to control a number of the electric resources being charged by the power grid as a function of the energy generation signal.
    * U.S. Patent Published Application No. 2009/0200988.
  • Typical Timeline and Costs $15k - $30k
  • Types of Technology
    • No “Green” indices at U.S. Patent Office
    • ICTSD / EPO creating index
      • general use of patents, access to technologies, licensing, and technology transfer
  • Filing Numbers
    • Actual filings can be difficult to track
    • Clean Energy Patent Growth Index - http://www.cleanenergypatentgrowthindex.com/
    • General trend upwards in almost every category
  • Filing Numbers
  • Filing Numbers
  • Filing Numbers
  • Filing Numbers* * This chart is used with permission from the “CLEAN ENERGY PATENT GROWTH INDEX 3rd Quarter 2009” published by the Cleantech Group of Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. ( www.cleantechintellectualproperty.com ).
  • Filing Numbers* * This chart is used with permission from the “CLEAN ENERGY PATENT GROWTH INDEX 3rd Quarter 2009” published by the Cleantech Group of Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. ( www.cleantechintellectualproperty.com ).
  • Players
  • STRANGE POLICY TWISTS - UTILITIES, MONOPOLIES AND PATENTS
    • Who owns the IP?
    • How to pay for the IP?
    • Why does a monopoly want a patent?
  • Why does a monopoly want a patent?
    • Exclude others in certain geographic area
    • Freedom to operate
    • Image / marketing
    • Cross-licensing
    • Incentivize innovation
  • Joint Development / Standard-setting organizations
    • Upfront IP disclosure
    • RAND licensing terms
    • Pooling agreements
    • Ernest W. Grumbles III – egrumbles@merchantgould.com
    • Robert A. Kalinsky – rkalinsky@merchantgould.com