Case study on Intellectual Property or IP covers patent, trademark, copyright, design and technology laws. The case studies shared herein illustrate how business owners are able to take advantage of Intellectual Property Rights. The IP owners ensure proper IP registrations by way of international filing mechanisms including PCT for patents and Madrid Protocol for trademarks.
A company has developed an innovative software tool to be offered to businesses under B2B software license model, wherein the company will license the product to company’s clients, and such clients will eventually use the tool to send invoices to the end users. The preliminary requirements of the company are based on structuring the applicable agreements with company’s clients and the scope of intellectual property rights protection. From the perspective of agreement, the main clauses can be covered in an End User License Agreement or EULA between the company and company’s clients, and a user agreement between the company’s clients and end users. As far as IPR protection is concerned, the brand name of the tool will be protected by trademark, source code will be protected by copyright, and utility features will be protected by way of patent. Essentially, the issues involved here can be listed as:
(a) EULA between the company and company’s clients
(c) Protecting brand name by way of trademark
(d) Protecting source code by way of copyright
(e) Protecting utility features by way of patents
An IT company has been approached by their client to develop a portfolio of five AI (Artificial Intelligence) products. The primary requirement includes the scope of product development agreement between the IT company and its client. After the successful deliver of AI products, the IT company plans to develop similar products for third-parties, and IT company’s client, who approached them to develop such similar products, intends to file AI patents to cover the innovative aspects and license those patents in US. The challenge is to ensure proper documentation between the IT company and its client.
Essentially, the issues involved here can be listed as:
(a) Product development agreement between the IT company and its client
(b) Agreement between the IT company and its client allowing the IT company to offer similar products to third parties
(c) Agreement between the IT company and its client allowing the IT company’s client to file for AI Patents
(d) Determining whether AI patents can be filed in India
(e) Determining best ways to license the AI patents in US
(f) Copyright issues involved in the overall transaction between the IT company and its client
If a Company owns a key patent on relevant technology, it is basically where R&D investment being made each year. The outcome of that is the company has exclusive control over an invention that one could commercialize. Thereby, a patent entitles its owner the right to exclude others from making, using or selling an invention for a limited period. Ideally, with a relevant technology, one can create a commercially successful product. Therefore, patent-protected products can be sold exclusively for up to 20 years. This, in turn, will lead to the concerned company being successful and showing a strong increase in stock price funded by maximized revenues. Consequently, the ability to sell relevant products exclusively maximizes revenues and can impact stock performance.
However, it is challenging to identify key patents and the companies currently owning them. One of the main reasons is that patents are filed in a sheer amount. In 2016, more than 3 million patent applications were filed. It became time-consuming to monitor as well as comprehend the applications being filed in large numbers. As per research, 70-80% of all patents have low or even no commercial value. Therefore, a new approach was required to efficiently identify the key patents in the data haystack. Also, another challenge is faced within the data from the patent offices worldwide, which includes, incomplete ownership information, ambiguous legal status information, errors such as wrong translations and misspellings, and the like.
Accordingly, patent owners follow various steps to undertake a Patent file to execute the possible patent analytics. For best practices, one must collect Worldwide Patent data/information, and the most important step is building patent families, where one patent family describes one invention. After this, two fundamental things must be kept in mind. The legal status of all documents in the family and then a conclusion must be made if the patent family is alive or not. Hence, one must check the validity and the remaining lifetime.
Other steps to analyse patents include determining the technology relevance. In a nutshell, technology relevance looks at forward citations but also takes care of three major fallacies that are associated with forward citations: a) Time- Issue b) Different Technology Fields c) Patent Office Citations
Therefore, to extract maximum benefits from patent data, patent analytics is a good strategy. Further to the case studies discussed herein, potential patent applicants can add greater value to their intangible assets by filing strategic patent applications.