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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).

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

  1. 1. Clean and Green: A Sensible Approach to IP Protection for New Energy Innovation December 8, 2009 Ernest W. Grumbles III Robert A. Kalinsky
  2. 2. ITEMS <ul><li>A STUDY IN CONTRASTS </li></ul><ul><li>WORST-CASE SCENARIOS </li></ul><ul><li>IP IN 4 SLIDES </li></ul><ul><li>PATENT SEARCHING FOR BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE </li></ul><ul><li>FILING EARLY AND OFTEN </li></ul><ul><li>REAL WORLD, CLEAN AND GREEN IP </li></ul><ul><li>STRANGE POLICY TWISTS </li></ul>
  3. 3. Tesla
  4. 4. Nikola Tesla – solar pioneer
  5. 5. A STUDY IN CONTRASTS
  6. 6. THE ECO-PATENT COMMONS <ul><li>Pool of Eco-Patents for Public Use – royalty-free </li></ul><ul><li>Est’d by IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony w/ World Bus. Council for Sust. Dev. </li></ul><ul><li>Over 100 patents so far </li></ul>
  7. 7. GE v. Mitsubishi (S.D. Tex.) <ul><li>Variable Speed Turbine Patents </li></ul>
  8. 8. WORST CASE SCENARIOS Pt. 1 <ul><li>No ownership or control of your inventions </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of information secrecy </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of patent rights </li></ul><ul><li>Ambiguous or weak patent rights </li></ul><ul><li>No real IP plan </li></ul>
  9. 9. WORST CASE SCENARIOS Pt. 2 <ul><li>Use of someone else’s trade secrets </li></ul><ul><li>Use of someone else’s patent rights </li></ul><ul><li>Involuntary patent or trade secret litigation </li></ul><ul><li>Injunction and damages from use of third party rights </li></ul>
  10. 10. Patent Litigation: Sport of Kings <ul><li>3,500 </li></ul><ul><li>$2.5M </li></ul><ul><li>2-3 years </li></ul><ul><li>injunction; lost profits; royalties; attorney’s fees </li></ul>
  11. 11. Akeena Solar v. Zep Solar (N.D. Cal.) Solar Cell Mounting Bracket Patent
  12. 12. Maxwell Technologies v. NessCap, Inc. (S.D. Cal.) Ultracapacitors
  13. 13. CLEAN AND GREEN IP IS: <ul><li>LIKE THE REST OF THE IP WORLD </li></ul><ul><li>IT’S ABOUT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>INNOVATION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IMPROVING THE WORLD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AND MAKING $ </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. IP in 4 Slides: Patents <ul><li>Statutory protection for inventions </li></ul><ul><li>Protects: devices, systems, methods of use/mfg </li></ul><ul><li>Up to 20 years of protection </li></ul><ul><li>$15K-30K to get one </li></ul><ul><li>1 year from sale or disclosure to file – or no US patent </li></ul>
  15. 15. IP in 4 Slides: Trade Secrets <ul><li>Statutory protection for confidential competitive info </li></ul><ul><li>No registration </li></ul><ul><li>No cost – aside from security </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetual (in theory) </li></ul><ul><li>Quick death – if you let them out </li></ul>
  16. 16. IP in 4 Slides: Trademarks <ul><li>Common law and statutory protection for brands/trade dress </li></ul><ul><li>State and Federal </li></ul><ul><li>Registration best </li></ul><ul><li>$1-4K to get registered </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetual – but use them or lose them </li></ul>
  17. 17. IP in 4 Slides: Copyright <ul><li>Statutory protection for creative works </li></ul><ul><li>Federal only </li></ul><ul><li>Register so you can sue </li></ul><ul><li>$35 to register </li></ul><ul><li>Time of protection </li></ul>
  18. 18. Look Before You Leap: the Virtues of a Patent Search <ul><li>What </li></ul><ul><li>What You Get </li></ul><ul><li>Why / Why Not </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><li>Timing </li></ul>
  19. 19. Patent Filing Strategies <ul><li>New Tech = uncertainty </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t sweat – just file </li></ul><ul><li>Early </li></ul><ul><li>Often </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap </li></ul><ul><li>Time-manage expense </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>$110 </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Destruction of Novelty <ul><li>Sales </li></ul><ul><li>Offers </li></ul><ul><li>Public Displays </li></ul><ul><li>Public Use </li></ul><ul><li>Time Limits </li></ul>My Patent Rights 2009
  22. 22. REAL WORLD, CLEAN AND GREEN IP - Filing Strategies <ul><li>Traditional Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Linear Approach </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bull's-eye” Approach </li></ul>
  23. 23. Filing Strategies – Traditional Approach Innovation Time
  24. 24. Filing Strategies – Linear Approach Time
  25. 25. Filing Strategies – Bull's-eye Approach
  26. 26. Example Patent Filing* <ul><li>12. A system, comprising: </li></ul><ul><li>a server operable to communicate with a power grid operator and with each of multiple electric resources connected to a power grid; and </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>* U.S. Patent Published Application No. 2009/0200988.
  27. 27. Typical Timeline and Costs $15k - $30k
  28. 28. Types of Technology <ul><li>No “Green” indices at U.S. Patent Office </li></ul><ul><li>ICTSD / EPO creating index </li></ul><ul><ul><li>general use of patents, access to technologies, licensing, and technology transfer </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Filing Numbers <ul><li>Actual filings can be difficult to track </li></ul><ul><li>Clean Energy Patent Growth Index - http://www.cleanenergypatentgrowthindex.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>General trend upwards in almost every category </li></ul>
  30. 30. Filing Numbers
  31. 31. Filing Numbers
  32. 32. Filing Numbers
  33. 33. 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 ).
  34. 34. 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 ).
  35. 35. Players
  36. 36. STRANGE POLICY TWISTS - UTILITIES, MONOPOLIES AND PATENTS <ul><li>Who owns the IP? </li></ul><ul><li>How to pay for the IP? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does a monopoly want a patent? </li></ul>
  37. 37. Why does a monopoly want a patent? <ul><li>Exclude others in certain geographic area </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom to operate </li></ul><ul><li>Image / marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-licensing </li></ul><ul><li>Incentivize innovation </li></ul>
  38. 38. Joint Development / Standard-setting organizations <ul><li>Upfront IP disclosure </li></ul><ul><li>RAND licensing terms </li></ul><ul><li>Pooling agreements </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>Ernest W. Grumbles III – egrumbles@merchantgould.com </li></ul><ul><li>Robert A. Kalinsky – rkalinsky@merchantgould.com </li></ul>

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