Thursday, 26 January 2017

Lifting the lid: uncovering innovative technology in 2017

New tech: what
treasures lie within?
In this, the second in a series of articles, with the aid of Cipher we can cast a light on what is next for the technology industry. With the pace of innovation and global competition increasing year-on-year, businesses are constantly seeking to surpass their competitors by launching new and innovative technologies into the market.  What does this mean in real terms? Read on ...
Uncovering innovative technology in 2017

With the pace of innovation and global competition increasing year-on-year, businesses are constantly seeking to surpass their competitors by launching new and innovative technologies into the market. Research from StartUp Britain, a government-backed national enterprise campaign, shows that the number of new businesses registered with Companies House last year equates to approximately 80 companies every hour. Added to this, statistics from WIPO show that in addition to the 10.6 million patents currently in force, applications have grown for a sixth consecutive year to 2.9 million (up 7.8% from 2015). It is increasingly difficult for even the most well-resourced organisations to see the wood for the trees.

As 2017 gets under way, it comes as no surprise to see that companies are set to increase their spend on big data and business analytics by more than 50%, as data-enabled leaders are three times more likely to improve their decision making.

In a crowded market, data relating to innovation and trends will be the key to success. The only clean, digitised and publicly available data related to innovation is found in the patent domain. And yet patent data are vast, unstructured and disconnected, making them underutilised sources of business intelligence. Cipher is the market-leading innovation analytics tool, which aggregates the world’s patent-related data and applies cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning. This allows you to instantly evaluate organisations, their innovation focus over time, and how they compare with the wider technology landscape.

Using a hosted service like Cipher means you can
• Harness the most advanced data science ever applied to IP data
• Identify and evaluate organisations and their technologies
• Evaluate emerging technology landscapes
• Uncover organisations with overlapping technologies
• Benchmark your performance or technology focus relative to peers
To demonstrate the power of these cutting-edge analytics for strategic decision-making, we’ve chosen three examples of technologies that dominated news in 2016 and are likely to continue to do so in 2017.
Industry 4.0 (“The internet of things”) 
The next industrial revolution has already begun and there is broad consensus it will consist of a number of converging technologies, e.g. sensors, RFID, cloud computing, 3D printing and robotics. But how do you make sense of such an opaque and disparate technology landscape? Is there such a thing as an “Industry 4.0” company and will the US continue to dominate in 2017? 
Some industry 4.0 technologies have seen their peak already. 
3D printing and robotics are growing. See our report on AR here

Since 2012 China has been a leader in innovation output, placing it in an increasing position of influence.

Augmented Reality (AR) 
2016 saw Pokémon Go, an AR game, explode with over 100 million downloads. But was it a one-off or will everyone get on the AR bandwagon? Could the 2016 spike have been predicted and what area of AR will take off in 2017?

Head-mounted displays and image processing seem to be where people place their technology bets. 
Improving people’s lives is an idea as honourable as it is old; however, the recent advances in materials science, e.g. carbon and electronics, means the prosthetics market is undergoing a seismic change as more move into bionics and exoskeletons.
Our 2015 report on prosthetic patents can be accessed here
Innovation growth in orthopaedics is now dwarfed by the surge in bionics and exoskeletons. Will 2017 be the year it finally becomes mainstream? 
Cipher’s highly visual and practical approach makes strategic insights from patent data accessible to all. Breaking down barriers by opening up IP to non-specialists will be transformative for organisations that adopt IP analytics in 2017. Greater understanding and collaboration at all levels of business enables innovation to flourish, helping organisations focus on what matters and make better decisions.
This post can also be accessed on the Aistemos website here, where it was first published last week. 

The first post in this series, "Why is IP being left behind in the Boardroom", can be accessed here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Corporate secrets in an age of innovation

It is with pleasure that we reproduce here an MIP guest post, published with Aistemos ahead of this April's IP Strategy Forum. In this post The Telegraph's Enterprise Editor Rebecca Burn-Callandar discusses transparency in the IP system. 
Corporate secrets in an age of innovation

More patents are being created each year than ever before and yet we live in a world of innovation that is steeped in corporate secrecy. Patents and other intellectual property (IP) rights may be public disclosures - a way to tell the world about your innovation - but the opacity of the existing system and an ongoing corporate unwillingness to adopt IP transparency means that we actually know very little about who owns what, and how those inventions are being managed, defended and monetised. By this, we mean disclosures about the IP owned, and how it is licensed or protected through litigation - even how it is described to outside stakeholders such as investors, be that on the balance sheet - which is very rare - or even internally.

Why the secrecy?

In Aistemos’ exclusive research, business leaders and IP experts from some of the world’s most innovative companies were split straight down the middle over whether increased transparency would be beneficial to their organisations.

This polarisation is indicative of several issues: that many business leaders may conflate transparency over patents, trademarks and other IP - their protected innovations, which are already in the public eye - with future R&D, trade secrets and business strategy - their secret sauce. It may also suggest that the ongoing lack of understanding about IP - an industry renowned for its complexity - could also be creating a culture of “don’t ask, don’t tell” within corporations. The results are alarming: according to ORoPO, an independent - and voluntary - register of patent ownership, as many as one in four IP records are currently inaccurate.

Innovation in the age of technology

Over the past decade, technology has reshaped every conceivable industry. But technology start-ups are slightly different from the businesses that were born 10 or 50 years ago. Their competitive advantage relies on their speed to market and their ability to crack complex problems faster than rivals, rather than simply how much money they have behind them, or their ability to do one thing well ad infinitum. As Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, wrote back in 2015, “In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.”

“In the past we had revolutions - perhaps they would be better described as evolutions - that came at a relatively slow pace, like long waves in the ocean,” he added. “The impact of the first Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the 1780s did not fully begin to be felt until the 1830s and 1840s. Today technological change happens like a tsunami. You see small signs at the shore, and suddenly the wave sweeps in.”

According to Bowman Heiden, deputy director of the internationally renowned Centre for Intellectual Property, business leaders’ reluctance to shout about their innovations can be explained by the dominance of technology-first firms in this latest industrial age.

“Most technology companies start from the position of secrecy concerning their innovation activities in general, and invention in particular, given the importance of protecting legal novelty as well as planning the timing of announcing new market offerings,” he explained. “This is a rather rational strategy for most firms given the competitiveness in tech industries.”
The benefits of greater disclosure

Innovation is hailed by business leaders, academics, and governments alike as a crucial asset, one to be celebrated and encouraged rather than hidden, neglected or crippled through inaction. Yet by refusing to commit to increased IP transparency, companies are hiding their light under the proverbial bushel.

Patents, for example, not only protect new innovations, they enable companies to generate extra revenue from their investment in R&D, either through licensing or litigation. In a recent report entitled “Can patent data predict the success of start-ups?” experts from MINES ParisTech, one of the most prominent and prestigious engineering schools in France, claimed: “Patents in particular are not only legal fences against competitors: they make it possible to license out technology, to build up partnerships or negotiate access to potentially blocking positions of competitors. They can also be sold on a stand-alone basis, and therefore provide security for investors.”

Jennifer Wuamett, Deputy General Counsel for IP and Litigation at NXP Semiconductors, who took part in the Aistemos research, noted that by having more data on the patent landscape in a market space can provide insight into the strength of a company’s IP position in key areas and help identify potential partnering and M&A opportunities” she suggested.

But Heiden points out that there is actually a cognitive dissonance in the world of IP over whether shouting about innovation, even when it helps build a brand or make money, is worth the risk. “For patents, the quid pro quo of disclosure in return for exclusivity is in the public interest but not necessarily in the private interests of the firm, depending on their business strategy,” he explained. Some firms looking to assert their patents may benefit from the element of surprise, for example.” This view was echoed by Joerg Thomaier, chief executive of IP at Bayer, the life sciences giant, who told Aistemos researchers, “I don’t believe there should be greater transparency when it comes to data about licensing. Early licences, for example, are strategic. Why would you open up that information to your competitors and tell them where you are heading?”

A new direction of travel

Transparency is now rising up the corporate agenda. Be it corporate remuneration, the gender pay gap, women on boards, sustainability or corporate social responsibility, companies are increasingly being either required, or gently encouraged, to show their hand. IP could well be one of the next facets of corporate life be to illuminated by the transparency spotlight.

Many studies have shown that companies demonstrating improved transparency tend to outperform their peers in a wide range of areas, from staff retention to investor engagement - all the way through to increased revenue and profit.

Many of the high-level executives interviewed for the Aistemos research also said that any move that helped to bring IP into the public domain, and generally demystify the area, would be positive. Even Bayer’s Thomaier, who has expressed concerns about excessive IP transparency, admitted: “Greater transparency on the patents covering a product would avoid situations where companies inadvertently infringe on our patents.” His main caveat: “For this to work, the whole industry will need to embrace the idea, and not all companies are open to greater transparency.”

The barriers to change

Transparency, in any facet of corporate life, is neither cheap nor easy. It may involve establishing a dedicated team to manage disclosures, could meet resistance from the wider organisation especially if adding further duties to already heavy workloads - and it could take months, even years, to show any real benefit.

Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum of Private Business (FPB), one of the leading voices of private enterprise in the UK, stressed that education will be key in creating a wholesale transparency movement. “If we truly are moving to a knowledge economy where the intangibles are the key areas of value, then we are moving to new territory,” he said. “Some companies will have thought about this but the majority will not; this highlights the need for educated discussion and sharing of information. Without this companies will take the safe option, which is keep your cards close to your chest and be overly cautious and secretive.”

Yet more businesses must take the plunge into transparency if we are to observe and measure the benefits. At the very least, a further move towards transparency could help meet the pressing need to tackle the public’s ongoing mistrust of big business. Corporate scandals have eroded consumers’ faith in large organizations - according to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, 42pc of people around the world do not trust corporations. Concerted efforts to adopt more transparent business practices across the board may help rebuild this trust.

Staying ahead of lawmakers and regulators

Another reason that many business leaders are keeping a watchful eye on the evolution of IP transparency is to avoid falling foul of the law. Recently, we have seen the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposing changes to disclosure requirements about intellectual property. But progress is slow, and many companies have become adept at revealing less and less about their IP, while staying on the right side of the rules.

Ian McClure, a leading IP strategy adviser, wrote recently that while public companies in the US may appear to be required by law to disclose any and all information that may affect their value - which includes data about intangible assets such as IP - most skirt the issue. “It is not manifest that companies perceive any ethical or other obligation to provide more information about these assets or risks than blanket and boilerplate statements in their disclosures,” he said.

They may not get away with this strategy for much longer, he claimed: “Shareholders are becoming activists around intellectual property at an increased rate and additional transparency can make those activities less adversarial.”

The United States Patent and Trademark Office, a powerful voice in the global IP community, also remains in favour of greater transparency so there may be value in embracing a culture of openness before it becomes mandatory.

This topic is not one where there is a clear direction of travel. Nigel Swycher, CEO of Aistemos thinks that things will change: “There is an increasing amount of publicly available data about IP and its strategic role within a business. As companies see that there is much to be gained, and little to lose from increased transparency, I predict more openness - and this openness will increase the value, and decrease the risk associated with IP rights”.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset: webinar reminder

Last November this weblog posted "The Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset" [you can check it out out in full by clicking here] -- the first a series of reports, prepared by Aistemos, that are designed to alert and educate readers as to the growing importance of intangible assets in general and intellectual property in particular. The reports are based on the results of research conducted by Aistemos last year in its IP Strategy in the Board Room project [you can find out more about this by clicking here]Now we're taking this theme further and making it more accessible to the business community and its advisers.

In a week and a half, on Wednesday 1 February, you can enjoy "Examining the Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset" in webinar format, as Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher looks at a selection of key intangible asset issues that were thrown up in the course of the IP Strategy in the Board Room project, discussing these topics with contributors to the report.

Is this topic important enough to make you drop whatever you might be doing and sign up for the webinar? Here's what some well-informed IP personalities have to say:
"Intangible assets are increasingly important for innovative companies today. We see that this has a positive impact on jobs, growth and prosperity”: Benoît Battistelli, European Patent Office

“As the UK moves to an increasingly knowledge-driven economy, the importance & role of IP in enterprise creation, growth & development also grows apace”: Charlotte Chung, Policy Advisor, Enterprise and Innovation at Federation of Small Business

“Every CEO and Board Director needs to structure their companies so that IP is used to deliver ever improving business results": Dan McCurdy, SVP, RPX Corporation 
“One area that warrants special attention is the growth of intangible assets, such as reputation and design. Over the past few years, investment in intangibles has grown to outstrip more traditional tangible assets. For businesses looking to better capitalise on their innovation, this increased attention creates great potential, particularly for growth." 

“Information about intangible assets is no different or less important than financial data or other economic indicators": Nigel Swycher, CEO Aistemos

“China is on the verge of becoming a major technology and IP generator, creating a tidal wave of patents likely to wash over the US and Europe’s shores in the next two decades, enabling China to dominate significant technology areas”: Ian Harvey, former IP adviser to the UK government.
If you'd like to sign up for the webinar, you can find all the relevant details here, The webinar commences at 3.00 pm GMT. If you can't make it on that day or time, sign up anyway and, in keeping with Aistemos practice, you will be sent a recording of the webinar as soon as it's available.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Future of Patent Analytics: a foresight study and a survey

In connection with the Workshop featured in our previous blogpost, there is also a foresight study. This aims to develop a technology roadmap for the next 10 years of patent analytics, involving key stakeholders with relevant knowledge and expertise to push the boundaries of patent analytics, such as technical experts, lead users of patent analytics solutions, patent specialists and decision-makers.

This roadmap needs your input, which is why there's a short 5-minute survey that helps the Workshop's organisers
* to identify fundamental problems in patent analytics that need solving to push the development of patent analytics.
* to identify suitable technologies that could be used to solve these problems, thereby enabling breakthrough developments.
Do please participate if you can. Your responses can help shape a wider understanding of where patent analytics has penetrated, how far it still has to travel and how it can be improved.

General information concerning the project and the survey can be accessed here.

The Future of Big Data Patent Analytics: Workshop coming up

Here's some exciting news from Cambridge -- the English one, that is, rather than the Massachusetts version. It comes from the Innovation and Intellectual Property group (IIPG) within the Centre of Technology Management, at the Institute for Manufacturing. The IIPG seeks expressions of interest for attendance for a workshop on the theme of "The Future of Big Data Patent Analytics". The date of this momentous event is Friday 3 March at the Institute for Manufacturing.

What is the aim of this workshop? In short, it is looking to identify future technologies, with the potential to deliver breakthroughs for substantially better analyzing and visualizing patent data to enable previously untapped use cases, and to assist in major problem-solving in the patent analytics field, through the engagement of both the academic community and industry.

With this in mind, the workshop's objectives are
• to help improve patent analytics for more effective exploitation of the worldwide largest repository of technological information to enable new use cases.
• to develop a public technology roadmap to facilitate collaboration and coordinated action of actors in the patent analytics community to further develop the capabilities for analyzing patent data.
• to reflect on the technology roadmap and the development of future technologies to solve outstanding and long term problems.
• to bring together relevant stakeholders in a research setting to enable new collaborations, thereby enhance patent analytics progress.
If you'd like to participate in this venture, please express your interest by mailing, or through the workshop website.

There's also a short online survey that is associated with this Workshop. To participate in it, just click here.

This workshop is sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and supported by Aistemos.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Why is IP being left behind in the boardroom?

Here, in the first in a series of articles, Cipher casts a light on the M&A trends of 2016 and the outlook for 2017.
Why is IP being left behind in the boardroom?

According to the latest research, 2017 could be a record year for deal-makers, with 57% of those surveyed by EY set to pursue acquisitions in the next 12 months. The same research indicates that as many as 91% of respondents are using big data and analytics as part of their deal process. Given this, contradictory results from a survey commissioned by Aistemos at the end of 2016 may come as a surprise.

Just 17% of respondents believe M&A decisions are always made with a sufficient understanding of the IP issues at play.

In an age where around 80% of company value is in its intangibles and where IP issues are increasingly at the heart of the deal, why is IP being left behind in the deal room?

The challenge faced by business leaders and IP professionals, is how to navigate vast patent landscapes when data is disorganised, incomplete, and unstructured, making it difficult to interpret or understand. Given these challenges, the timelines and budgets that dominate corporate deal-making, it’s little wonder that this type of analysis is often left to one side.

Complex questions require simple answers

This is why IP business intelligence tools like Cipher are fast becoming critical to decision support. By applying cutting edge analytics to the world’s most comprehensive and trusted set of patent-related data, Cipher delivers information clearly and instantly. A glance at some of 2016's biggest deals demonstrates this.

The acquisition of TMS allowed Canon to leapfrog competition to become the largest and fastest growing portfolio.

LinkedIn has amassed large portfolios by acquisition but recently shifted to in-house innovation and patenting.
A look ahead to 2017 Smarter deals in 2017

One can only speculate about what deals will be done in 2017. Will Comcast acquire T-Mobile, and will someone snap up Netflix? In any case, an analysis of three pending mega-deals for 2017 highlights the power of Cipher when applied to complex datasets:
  • DuPont and Dow Chemical
  • ChemChina and Syngenta
  • Bayer and Monsanto
The biggest shake up since the 90s?

If all were to get regulatory approval, it would put Bayer Monsanto in a proprietary throne both in seed technologies and agrochemicals. Is this the biggest shake-up since the 90s? View  our full Cipher report here

Smarter deals in 2017?

Amid the rumours and speculation, one thing is certain - the consequences of not assessing intangible assets with the same degree of scrutiny as financials can be disastrous to business performance. Those that choose to engage with IP data and incorporate it into their deal processes early will make better, smarter decisions.

With Cipher, information that is impossible to analyse manually is available to both IP professionals and business leaders at a click of a button. Cipher helps with corporate decision support by
  • - Providing market analysis and trends;
  • Identifying and evaluating potential targets;
  • Supporting due diligence and execution

Focus on what matters, make better decisions.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A fresh start -- and a chance to take stock: five perspectives for the New Year

Earlier this week we listed our Top Ten blogposts for the year just past.  Now we change gear from retrospect to some forward thinking, via some thoughts from Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher (these thoughts are also posted to the Aistemos LinkedIn Group if you'd like to discuss them there). Nigel notes the following:
The start of the year is a great time to take stock and, with so much change in the world, I wanted to add my perspective from the world of intellectual property:

1. Never been better: how so? 
Few like the direction of travel for US patent reform, copyright in Europe is a mess, SEPs and FRAND policy is chaotic, NPEs are still causing trouble, China has entered the mix. But that’s the point. Many people care. Legislators, regulators, economists, investors. So whilst change can be uncomfortable, it is an essential prerequisite of evolution.

2. Now a strategic issue: really? 
Yes really. Aistemos conducted an industry survey last year and are publishing a series of reports [the first, "The Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset", is published here]. The main finding is that IP Strategy is a thing. Boards are interested in IP and now see intangibles as more than a cost. And so they should - intangibles more often than not account for the majority of enterprise value.

3. Investors care, lenders don’t
Slightly upsetting. I used to think this was one issue. It’s not. There are now more M&A deals than ever before where IP matters. There remain few financings where the primary collateral is IP. There is a good reason for this, and it’s the difference between value and valuation. No one has a problem accepting the former when it comes to IP. Everyone has a problem agreeing on the latter.

4. Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion
A half truth. IP has been a specialist sport for too long, controlled by experts in ivory towers (I speak from decades of personal experience). There is no shortage of data, but we are only now seeing the potential of AI and machine learning to extract insight. Cipher is leading the way, but expect to see significant improvements in IP analytics in the year to come.

5. Increased transparency: what, no more hide and seek? 
The three legs of the IP stool are ownership, licensing and litigation. There are significant developments to improve access to data in all areas. (Quick plug for ORoPO, which helps answer the question who owns the world’s patents). While some companies still struggle to balance transparency and secrecy/ competitive advantage, they are signs that this coin will land the right way up.

We live in interesting times
From a technology perspective the pace shows no sign of slowing down. In 10 years, there are whole sectors that will be unrecognizable. What are the long term implications of FinTech, MedTech, Autonomous Vehicles, AI/machine learning, Internet of Things/connected devices? I don’t have the answer. I do have Cipher, and I remain convinced that increasing and improving access to the right information at the right time, is essential.
If you'd like to comment on any of these points or start a discussion, you can do so by posting your points below.  Alternatively you can contact Nigel Swycher directly by email or via Aistemos.

Monday, 16 January 2017

What you read last year: our most popular blogposts for 2016

The new year is well underway, with all the challenges and opportunities that every new year presents. But before we say goodbye to 2016 completely, let's take a look at our most popular blogposts for the past twelve months. Their interest lies no only in what we have had to say, but more importantly in which topics have attracted the most interest among our readers. 

Inevitably the majority of most-visited blogposts are those from the earlier part of the year, since they have been online and available for longer than the more recent posts. Nonetheless, the posts listed below are broadly an accurate reflection on what our readers have been most eager to peruse.

In descending order of popularity, the 2016 "Top Ten" reads as follows (just click the title to access each post):

Patents surrounding Pokémon Go – has someone caught them all? (2 August)

Following the launch of Pokémon Go -- the free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game -- we took a look at the legal bases upon which such games are built. Accordingly we composed a Cipher Snapshot, focusing on the highly topical issue of Augmented Reality and looking at the key patent-holders.

Competitor behaviour revealed: an exercise in software patent data (26 May)

So much ink has been spilled in recent times over the demise of patents in the software sector, particularly in the United States after the Supreme Court's Alice ruling, that one might be led to believe that there were scarcely any of them left standing. The truth is however very different.  There are tens of thousands of them, in the US and beyond. Their very large number makes it difficult to gauge their potential impact in the marketplace and their role in shaping the commercial direction taken by their owners.  This Cipher-driven study gives some idea of the benefits that can be derived through the deployment of IP analytics in this highly competitive field.

Microsoft and the missing Link? The LinkedIn deal has a patent profile (20 June)

After the news broke of software giant Microsoft's $26.2bn acquisition of business-oriented social networking service LinkedIn, there was surprisingly little comment or response from the business information sector. We asked whether there might just be a patent dimension to this acquisition and, again With the aid of Cipher we threw together a few bits of relevant data that analysts and investors might want to consider.

Entrepreneurship and Talent Management from a Global Perspective (10 February)

The enticingly-titled Entrepreneurship and Talent Management from a Global Perspective: Global Returnees is a new book in the Edward Elgar New Horizons in Management series. It is also the first and only book whose review managed to made the Aistemos Top Ten.

Patent landscape and IP competitive intelligence: should every company have it? (9 May)

In a field of activity that has suffered from a dearth of useful objective and non-promotional literature, an article with the title "Leveraging Patent Landscape Analysis and IP Competitive Intelligence for Competitive Advantage" is bound to attract serious attention.  A piece with that title, published in Elsevier's World Patent Information, was authored by Yateen R. Pargaonkar. A registered US patent agent whose experience covers working with Procter & Gamble and Chevron. This blogpost takes a look at what he has to say, adding some comments of our own.

IP Strategy in the Boardroom: around the Roundtable (5 July)

In late June Aistemos hosted an IP Strategy Roundtable, in which participants discussed the following issues: 
  • Is intellectual property recognised by boards as an asset class deserving of C-suite attention? 
  • What changes are likely to occur in the next 5 years to corporate reporting of IP and IP strategy? 
  • What are the key elements of an IP strategy that will transform IP from a cost to profit centre? 
  • What data and analytics need to underpin IP strategy, and how should they be presented?
Aistemos took this event as an opportunity to publish the results of its survey, which are summarised in this blogpost.

Rabbits join Unicorns in the Investment Menagerie (26 January)

Last year there was still quite a lot of interest in the concept of Unicorns (billion dollar start-ups). However, Unicorns were not alone in the investment menagerie.  Writing in Australia's Business Insider ("2016 will be the year of the rabbits"), Sam Shead picked up on a theme brought to light by CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal in his daily newsletter: the rise of the Rabbit. What is the Rabbit -- and what are our thoughts on the subject? Read on!

Would you sell your family? (18 May)

The IAM Blog is always a good place to find news, views and talking points on intellectual property strategy topics, particularly in the hyperactive area of patents. Here we review and discuss a recent IAM Blog post, "Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and 14 others team up with AST to launch new patent buying initiative" by Richard Lloyd.

Europe, Utopia and the Unified Patent Court (7 June) 

The Unified Patent Court (UPC), billed as "a single patent court covering 25 countries", is not yet functioning. Indeed, it is still some way from being kick-started into action. However, its existence and operation entered the limelight last summer, particularly within the context of Brexit. 

Nokia price fall a "wild overreaction" -- and it's not the first, either (4 February)

Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher discusses share price fluctuations affecting large-scale patent owner Nokia and asks whether better use can be made of patent analytics when considering a company's stock value and future prospects.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset -- now for the webinar

Don't let those intangible
assets slip out of sight!
Last November this weblog posted "The Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset" [you can check it out out in full by clicking here]. This was the first a series of reports, prepared by Aistemos, that are designed to alert and educate readers as to the growing importance of intangible assets in general and intellectual property in particular. The reports are based on the results of research conducted by Aistemos last year in its IP Strategy in the Board Room project [you can find out more about this by clicking here].

Now we're taking this theme further and making it more accessible to the business community and its advisers.

On Wednesday 1 February you can enjoy "Examining the Rise and Rise of the Intangible Asset" in webinar format, as Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher looks at a selection of key intangible asset issues that were thrown up in the course of the IP Strategy in the Board Room project, discussing these topics with contributors to the report.

If you'd like to sign up for the webinar, you can find all the relevant details here, The webinar commences at 3.00 pm GMT.

If you can't make it on that day or time, sign up anyway and, in keeping with Aistemos practice, you will be sent a recording of the webinar as soon as it's available.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Push from CPA Global adds to ORoPO's momentum

A push in the right direction
can have knock-on effects ...
At risk of sounding like latter-day prophets, the Aistemos blog team can say in all honesty (and with some pleasure) that some of their more ancient blogposts have been a bit ahead of their time. In a series of articles posted mainly in 2015 [you can check them out here], we trumpeted the virtues of having accurate data regarding ownership of registered intellectual property rights and supported the launch of non-for-profit ORoPO [in full, that's the Open Register of Patent Ownership, which you can read more about here]. While ORoPO, as its name suggests, does not cover all registered IP, the fact is that, in practical terms, patents are the ones that are most important in terms of IP analytics; they also have the potential to cause the most trouble if your ownership information is wrong.

It is thus with the greatest satisfaction that we read this week's media release from leading IP management and technology company CPA Global. The story tells of CPA Global's active support for ORoPO

CPA Global®, a leading IP technology and management company, is actively supporting the Open Register of Patent Ownership (ORoPO) – a non-profit organisation that aims to improve transparency and openness around patent ownership data. According to this release:
" ... The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) estimates that 25% of patent data available on public registers is inaccurate. This can be caused by something as simple as a misspelling on a patent application or uncertainty around ownership [in this context, 'inaccuracy' embraces 'inconsistency' -- an almost inevitable consequence of the transliteration of names of companies and individuals between different languages or scripts]. During the lifetime of a patent, ownership can change hands or companies change names. Data needs to be regularly updated.

Inaccuracies in patent ownership have significant consequences, causing increased risk, cost, and uncertainty that creates barriers to innovation. With intellectual property making up as much as 70% of a company’s value [this statistic has become something of a mantra, in whichever form it gets quoted. In some sectors it can be hard to find businesses with an IP-based value of as little as 70%], inaccurate information can fundamentally impact the core asset value of a business. ...

CPA Global will support ORoPO by actively publicising the initiative to its customer base and encouraging its clients to grow the open register database. CPA Global is planning a series of joint webinars with ORoPO, IBM and Microsoft to improve knowledge of the initiative and share its benefits. ...
Simon Webster (CPA Global's CEO) is unambiguous in his support. In his own words:
“Intellectual property is as important, if not more so, than physical assets in determining the value of a company. Innovation is critical to global business growth and ORoPO will help remove uncertainty around who owns assets and how they can be used. We wish to support ORoPO and promote its benefits to our clients and beyond, helping to drive further traction on this important initiative.”
Added to the support that ORoPO already has from major players in the world of patents and innovation such as IBM, Microsoft, ARM and BAE Systems, this development suggests that maybe the time has come for others to follow suit.

Monday, 2 January 2017

December's Aistemos blogposts: a handy summary

We were so busy in December that the month really flashed past -- and that's why we didn't post as many items on our weblog as we usually do. Still, in case you were as busy as we were (which is quite likely if you are working in the fields of intellectual property analytics and strategy), here's a list of our December features. 

If you're not yet familiar with our blog, let us explain.  Each month we list and summarise the previous month's blogposts for readers  who have been away or who were simply too busy to follow them in real time. Each blogpost listed below comes with a moderated comment facility, so please feel welcome to respond to anything you read, whether you disagree with it, wish to amplify or clarify its points, or merely provide further links to relevant material.

To check each post out, just click the title:

Every so often, this weblog likes to take a look at information-related tools that may be of assistance to the intellectual property community. This post notes the ScienceOpen Research + Publishing Network, this being
"... a freely accessible research network to discover and evaluate scientific information. Search among over 27 million articles and article records, filter by citation or Altmetric score, and share your expertise via comments or peer review".
What does this all mean for the strategic deployment of information in patent-related contexts?


This weblog has sounded off on previous occasions about the potential importance of BEPS, the tidy acronym that stands for Base Erosion and Profit Shifting [see also earlier Aistemos BEPS-related blogposts here].  Our position has been that this is a topic that has substantial relevance to the intellectual property business and investment community, which has to date taken little interest in it. Now the OECD is throwing its weight behind the issue.


Recent blogposts have focused on the challenges created by "Industry 4.0", a term that is gaining currency in the world of the Internet of Things. These posts include our well-received and much-read report on key technologies and trends, as well as a series of posts relating to "Industry 4.0 through the lens of patents", an Aistemos webinar. You can follow the webinar presentations by Marcus Malek and Sebastian Muller-Borges, together with relevant visuals, by clicking here.

You can check out Aistemos's posts over the previous twelve months below:

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