Stanford IP summit highlights key challenges to semiconductor design, from super-trolls to the smart phone litigation mess and damaging bureaucratic behavior.
Last week’s law, science and technology conference focused on emerging intellectual property trends, many of which directly affect the semiconductor IP industry. IP scholars from several well-known universities presented their works-in-progress to share with other colleagues.
Jeff John Roberts provided a snap-shot of the event in his blog on Gigaom. Of particular interest to me – and the subject of many of my past blogs – were the following:
- Patent Trolls – From Roberts coverage: “New research by Professors Robin Feldman and Tom Ewing shows that super-troll (or “mass aggregator” if you want to be polite) Intellectual Ventures is tied to at least 1,300 shell companies.” The shell companies acquire patents in order to sue other companies. In her lecture, noted that it can be impossible to tell who is controlling trolls and thus who benefits from the money they receive through these lawsuits. She suggested that disclosure of troll owners is one solution and that federal regulators should use anti-trust laws to address any patent abuses. (See my past blog; “Will Patent Trolls Liquefy the IP Market?“)
- “The smartphone patent mess: the past is the key to the future” - From Roberts coverage: “The sight of Apple and Samsung using hundreds of thousands of patents to sue each other all over the world is enough to induce despair about the patent system. But Professor Colleen Chien of Santa Clara puts this in perspective by studying two previous patent epidemics — one over farmers’ tools in the 1880′s and another over railroad technology around the turn of the century.”
- “Bureaucratic behavior determines the patent landscape” – From Roberts coverage: “Two little know institutions, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the patent court) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, have an outsize influence on the country’s innovation policies. Their decisions about patents are shaped in part by a desire to preserve their power, prestige and relevance — and may not always align with the country’s best interest.”
I’ll be writing about these last two topics in later blogs.
A full list of conference presentations can be found here here.