Most Innovative Companies & Inventions of 2014

Forbes, Time, Businessweek, The Scientist, Popular Science – all these magazines have listed the most innovative companies of 2014 and Greatest Innovations or Most Disruptive Innovations of 2014. See the enclosed lists:

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Microsoft settles Skype service related patent infringement

Microsoft made agreement to pay VirnetX Holdings Corp. $23 million and settle patent claims over secure communication networks related to Skype service which allows instant messaging and internet calling. The agreement came after U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis in Texas, issued order giving definitions to key terms in VirnetX patents.

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In yet another pending case, between VirnetX and Apple Inc. relating to VPN on Demand and FaceTime features, Virnet is waiting for proceedings from Texas court.

Is Qualcomm Losing edge in Mobile Phone Communication Technologies?

The key question in mobile phone communication Technologies is – Qualcomm, with its patent portfolio, maintained its dominant position in CDMA/WCDMA (3G) technologies. Will it maintain its lead in 4G-LTE Technology too?. Let’s get a perspective by reviewing the landscape.

Qualcomm develops and patents mobile phone communication technologies, such as CDMA/WCDMA (3G technology) and OFDMA (LTE/WiMax technologies), which it then licenses to tablet and mobile phone manufacturers. These mobile phone manufacturers make phones that utilize Qualcomm’s technologies and operate on networks based on these technologies. Qualcomm charges royalties on each handset sold based on its technology in addition to one-time licensing fees from handset vendors. Apple, Samsung, Nokia and LG are some of its key customers.

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With well over 250 licensees, Qualcomm’s CDMA patent portfolio is the most widely and extensively licensed portfolio in the 3G space today. In past, Qualcomm has been in a tiff with entities like Nokia and India’s Reliance over high royalty rates that it charged. However, over time, the average royalty rate that Qualcomm charges mobile handset vendors has declined considerably, as the average selling price of CDMA mobile phones continue to decline and with carriers transitioning to high-speed 4G networks. And the bad news is that Qualcomm does not have a strong position in this segment.

Due to the lack of same dominant IP portfolio in 4G technologies like LTE, Qualcomm might not be able to achieve the same royalty revenues on OFDMA-based LTE technology, as it enjoyed in CDMA-based technologies. As the industry continues to transition from the 3G to 4G technology, Qualcomm’s average royalty rate is coming under pressure, impacting the bottom-line.

It is anticipated that the gradual shift from 2G to 3G/4G will increase the global penetration of mobile devices from the current 50% to 65% in 2016. And, couple of years thereafter, with adoption of 3G/4G technologies increasing to as much as 80% will constrict CDMA technologies market further.

Top 10 Countries in Global Innovation Index 2014

The Global Innovation Index 2014 report by Soumitra Dutta, Bruno Lanvin, and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent – co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO is out.

This report assessed 143 economies using 83 different indicators. Based on Innovation Performance, Global Innovation Index published World’s Top 10 countries which include – Switzerland (1st), United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, US, Singapore, Denmark, Luxembourg, Hong Kong.

The table below shows the leading countries in the Global Innovation Index 2014.

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Source: Global Innovation Index 2014 Report.

Why Intellectual Property Protection is Vital in BioPharMed Industry?

In a recent article, phrma.org – described that Intellectual Property Protections are vital for Biopharmaceutical Industry. Why is it so critical? There are several reasons for this:

1) Strategic Investments that go into R&D
2) Of the thousands of experiments done, only a handful have positive outcomes and make it to FDA for approval
3) Very few drugs get approved by FDA
4) It takes 7 to 10 years to make it from R&D to Market (after FDA approval) and as per a study, it costs about $1.2 billion.

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Yes – discovering life changing, life saving drugs is not easy. Odds are high and there are challenges that need to be tackled. Then what is the motivator? – Providing new cure and making a windfall.

Due to these reasons and more, it is imperative to have sound IP Strategy creating strong IP Creation and IP Protection including the enforcement tools to defend against infringing patents. Also, strong IP Protection ensures recouping the substantial investments in new drug development (NDA or BLA applications).

US FTC, EU and China probe Qualcomm on breach of Competition Rules

Qualcomm in its Annual report, disclosed EU and US FTC investigations on its breach of competition rules. According to the report, Qualcomm is ready, if violation is found, on broad range of remedies including possible imposition of fine and/or injunction relief and restriction of certain business practices. EU is probing Qualcomm to see if entered into anti-competitive agreements or has abused dominant market position.

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US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Qualcomm’s patent licensing arrangements are anti-competitive or not. Under the scanner is the issue as to whether Qualcomm failed to ensure others could license their patents on Fair, Reasonable and Non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

China, also is probing Qualcomm to ascertain if it breached Chinese anti-monoply laws. If National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) finds breach, then it could potentially impose 10 percent of Qualcomm’s annual revenues.

For more details, refer to the Annual report.

2013 sees Uptick in Industry Sponsored Univerisity Research

Industry sponsored research by universities increased to $4.5 billion – a new high.

Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) university licensing report, points out that – university tech transfer accounted for 5,198 licenses. Off these, 496 are equity based positions; 1,356 are options executed. Approximately 14,995 patent applications were filed in 2013, while 5,714 patents were granted in 2013.

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It is interesting to note that these numbers were achieved despite the fact that Federally funded university research programs dropped to $40 billion. Much of the losses or drop in federal funding was offset by Industry based research funding.
Credits are due for universities too for figuring out ways to not only offset the funding from federal research programs, but also exploring ways to expand industry collaborations.

Another highlight is the fact that there are as many as 4,206 Start-ups (in 2013) in operations, with associated net product sales of $22.8 billion.

 

Kameshwar Eranki is CEO of VajraSoft Inc. He is author of the eBooks – Managing Innovations for Profitable growth and The Definitive Guide of Patent Life Cycle Management. For free download of the eBooks, click download Free eBook or click download Free eBook – PLM.

About VajraSoft Inc. – VajraSoft Inc. is Intellectual Property (IP) Management Software company, helping customers manage innovations and monetize IP’s. Our award winning products empower businesses and IP law firms to automate the patent filing cost estimation process of creating cost estimation quotes for filing a patent in any country globally. VajraSoft Inc. PatFolio helps customers with Invention Disclosures Management, Drafting Patent Applications, filing, managing patent prosecution life cycle and patent maintenance.

VajraSoft Inc. is Master Class IP Solution provider, and its products won several Cloud awards including – UP Start Awards for Best Industry Application for 2012. CIO Review magazine selected VajraSoft Inc. as 100 Most promising Big Data companies for 2014. Silicon India magazine listed VajraSoft Inc. as Top 100 Technology companies in US for 2013. VajraSoft Inc. is also Finalist of StartmeupHK Venture Program, conducted by the Govt. of Hong Kong and UP Start Cloud Award for Best BI / Analytics Application for 2013.