Friday, 23 October 2015

No going back, but patent quality must improve: serious thoughts from a birthday party

Last night Aistemos marked its second anniversary with a reception at London's stylish Hospital Club, an unfamiliar venue for many but a cosy retreat and handy base for many of the most imaginative members of the creative industries. Predictably, since this was a gathering of people involved in various aspects of intellectual property management, exploitation, investment and analytics, the conversation was a good deal more serious than that which one might expect from a birthday party: earnest voices, furrowed brows and attentive nods were as much in evidence as the mandatory nips and nibbles.

Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher welcomed everyone, reminded them that IP might be intangible property but it was far from being invisible and warned that, so far as recognition of the importance of patents and other IP rights in business today was concerned, there was no going back (not that anyone present in this highly pro-IP gathering was about to disagree). He then introduced Brian Hinman (Chief Intellectual Property Officer of Philips, Eindhoven, formerly with Allied Security Trust, IBM and Unified Patents).

Brian gave a short, sharp keynote address in which he emphasised the importance of good quality patents, both in terms of the value they promised their owners and as a prophylactic against the activities of those non-practising entities that harnessed poor-quality patents, those with unclear scope and dubious validity, as a means of engaging in unworthy forms of trolling.

Even with a 50-strong IP intelligence team at his disposal, monitoring and handling a portfolio of some 76,000 Philips registered patent rights still required the use of smart tools that could add value to the company's appreciation of its intangible assets. This was the context in which external smart tools such as those developed by Aistemos were so useful.

Returning to the theme of quality, Brian praised the European Patent Office as being number one when it came to focusing on the quality of its granted patents; however, both the Chinese and Japanese Intellectual Property Offices were learning fast and were now doing lots of benchmarking.

Brian concluded by assuring his audience in jocular fashion that, if you are working in patents today, you are guaranteed good prospects of job security: people always need to hire someone who can drive their business innovations, and if something goes wrong they then need someone to handle their litigation.


  1. No mention of the USPTO's efforts regarding quality patents? Is this significant, or is Brian just being nice to the everyone else?

  2. US Quality Watcher9 November 2015 at 11:23

    The USPTO must have been reading this blog, or at least Anonymous's comment. See Michelle Lee's Friday post, "Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative: Moving Forward"