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Pooley Links Global Innovation to Patents

in Asia/Intellectual Property/International/Patents/The Innovation Economy by

WASHINGTON April 26, 2011 – James Pooley, Deputy Director General for Innovation and Technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), delivered the keynote address Tuesday at the sixth annual world intellectual property day forum, calling patents a “key driver for innovation”.

“The patent system generates the incentive for innovation,” Pooley said during the event, which was hosted by the Institute for Policy Innovation. “The intellectual property system is not just about innovation though, it’s also about bringing ideas to market.”

Pooley explained how patents provide not only protection for inventors but also assurances for investors.

“By having a patent protecting a product, investors feel their investments are protected from being copied or stolen,” said Pooley.

WIPO is trying to spur global innovation through the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a unified international patent filing system for 142 nations. By having a single application, inventors are able to gain faster access to the international market.

The number of international patent filings by U.S. companies has flattened, but those filed by Chinese companies has risen steeply.

China is now the fourth largest filer of international patent applications. Currently the Chinese government is subsidizing the costs of filling a patent, which is driving the large number of filings but Pooley feels that this subsidy will likely not last forever.

Currently, one-third of the international patents that are filed come out of Asia.

Study: Patents Not A Top Priority At Software and Internet Start-Ups

in Patents by

SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2010 – Patents are deemed by executives at software and internet start-ups as the least important way of boosting competitive advantage, according to a forthcoming survey of more than a thousand companies by the University of California’s Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

The study, due to be published sometime this summer,  surveyed chief executive and technology officers of more than 1,300 software, biotech, medical device and computer hardware start-up companies founded in the past decade.

The survey found that executives at the internet and software start-ups valued first-mover advantage much more than patents. Medical device and biotech firms valued patents much more highly and are a top priority for those firms.

“Biotech and medical device start-up companies regard patents as key for attaining competitive advantage from their innovations,” said report co-author and Berkeley Law Professor Pamela Samuelson. “Software entrepreneurs, on the other hand, find it’s much more critical to move fast in the marketplace and to use copyright and trademark protections. Patents take a back seat.”

The finding is significant as lawmakers in Congress continue to struggle along trying to reform the patent system. The effort is stuck because of an impasse between the different industries on how key changes would affect companies in those industries differently.

The authors of the study note that a key finding of the survey is that patents are seen as more of a way to limit competition and to attract investment capital rather than to innovate, which is the key economic assumption powering the patent system.

“The capital formation finding is noteworthy, because it’s an aspect of the patent system that has not been systematically established and explored in prior research,” said report co-author and Berkeley Law Professor Robert Merges.

The study, “High Technology Entrepreneurs and the Patent System,” with these and other findings, is scheduled to be published sometime this summer in the Berkley Technology Law Journal.

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