From the monthly archives:

April 2010

MDB Capital report-worth a read

by Andrew Watson on 22 April 2010

There is a very interesting post across at Joff Wild’s IAM blog highlighting a study by MDB Capital Group on the relationship between patent quality and stock performance. http://www.iam-magazine.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=f4579e1e-62cf-40e3-8b89-4bb204e1b54d

I hadn’t heard the term IP investment bank since Ocean Tomo days and what MDB look to be doing is in line with what you’d expect of that description.  They look (very helpfully) to be finance and business people who’ve reversed into IP as being a key business metric as opposed to IP people moving outwards. An intriguing model and looks like one to watch.

The first paper I read on the topic was Deng, Lev and Narin’s 1998 paper which you can find here, www.stern.nyu.edu/~blev/s&t.doc.

Helpfully the MDB paper seems to validate and add to the Deng, Lev and Narin findings. For the IP world though the findings, as Joff says, should not really be a surprise.

MDB looks like a real business to watch. I don’t believe that we’ve seen anything like this in Europe so far. But if the model can be made to work in the US, it should at some point translate and migrate over here.

Fascinated.

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Novell Wins 7-Year Open-Source Suit

by admin on 8 April 2010

There’s been some celebration in the Open Source Community that Novell have won their dispute with bankrupt SCO group on the ownership of copyrights in the Unix source code. The blogosphere hasn’t however commented on the implications for the Linux system.

The case has been reported elsewhere. A good summary can be found on Wikipedia at the attached link and the Salt Lake Tribune has the best summary of the decision of the lower court.. Basically Novell has persuaded a Utah jury that Novell — and not SCO — continues to own the rights to the coypright of the Unix operating system, despite a 1995 agreement which might suggest otherwise.

So why is this important to Open Source advocates? Well part of the Unix operating system has been incorporated into the Linux operating system and distributed under the General Public Licence GPL by, among others, IBM (and there’s also a copyright suit between IBM and SCO pending). Copyright law says, however, that you can only distribute code if your licence to the code allows redistribution. If IBM had no rights to redistribution, then IBM could not place code freely available for others to use as part of the Linux operating system.

The whole case is a bit of a mess, but shows the importance that needs to be attached to clarifying just who owns what bits of code. Merely incorporating “Open Source” software into a product does not guarantee that the code is free of copyright issues. It also clearly illustrates the care that needs to be made in documenting copyright ownership issues and drafting licensing and sales agreements carefully to ensure that ownership and rights to use are clear.

The Novell-SCO case may not yet have finished. There are still further decisions to made by the judge – but it does seem that the ownership of this particular piece of code has been decided. No doubt other cases will come up with disputes on further bits of the code.

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A quarter in the life

April 3, 2010

I started to write a blog with a weekly summary of what we’d been up to in the last quarter of 2009. More ever I set off with the right intent but failed to stay on the plan for no other reason than the time pressures of work and home life. I’m sitting here at […]

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Ignoring IP assets when the liquidator comes in…

April 1, 2010

I’m a regular listener to the excellent Planet Money podcast by a team over at NPR that makes economics fun and engaging (or rather more fun and engaging). Catching up today, I listened to their podcast: A Private-Equity Boss In Four-Inch Stilettos about Lynn Tilton, CEO and founder of Patriarch Partners. Patriarch describes itself as: […]

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