NSTI Nanotech 2009

Patent Pollution: Clearing the Patent Landscape and Protecting Innovation

D.K.S. Cornwell
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., US

Keywords: intellectual property, business strategy

Abstract:

With concerns about both oil prices and global environmental issues, investment in clean technologies has risen dramatically over the past few years . Emerging companies have two major obstacles to their ultimate success. The first is to create technologies that are functional and economically feasible. The second problem is navigating the vast body of energy and environmental patents that have issued over the past decade. It is this second problem which is sometimes overlooked and which can doom a company to failure - even if the company possesses a breakthrough technology. It surprises most people to learn that the clean technology landscape includes a plentiful and rich supply of patents. These patents can be deadly weapons if not treated properly. They can also be a source of knowledge and technology and business opportunity. In tandem with a culture of innovation, an effective patent strategy may differentiate those companies that successfully commercialize clean alternatives to fossil fuels. The purpose of this presentation is to give innovative companies the tools they need to navigate a difficult patent landscape. A difficult economy invites an incredible opportunity for companies who have the knowledge of how to evaluate the patent assets of their would-be competitors. Millions of dollars of R&D can be saved by investing in the languishing patent portfolio of innovative companies who haven’t survived the economic storm. This presentation will explore the steps that all emerging companies must take in order to benefit from the current economic crisis and to avoid the kind of patent problems that have plagued and ultimately destroyed many new companies, including the following: • Taking advantage of Expired Patents • Leveraging the ideas found in International Patents • Finding Licensing Opportunities of U.S. Patents • Clearing Products and Designing Around Unexpired U.S. Patents • Procuring Patents for Core Technologies • Obtaining Patents for Revolutionary Ideas • Obtaining Patents for Evolutionary Ideas • Using Special Provisions of the Patent Rules
 
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