From the monthly archives:

May 2010

It’s hard not to watch the news this morning (on that fantastically British medium, the BBC, we do that so well don’t we, the Royal Family, the Open, the Championships) without some fear for Brand Britain. We also specialise so well in shooting ourselves in the foot. Time, after frustrating time.

BP’s failure to stem the leak in the Gulf is an environmental tragedy, with the associated sight of American citizens standing on British flags. If we have a special relationship with the US, we as a country should be using the innovative talent, all innovative talent at our disposal to find a way to stop this. And fast. The long term damage to the US coastline and marine systems is heart-breaking to see.

Take then BA. Does nobody in Unite or BA management not see how they are systematically taking apart a brand that has taken decades to build up?  At a time when competition has not been fiercer and profits never harder to come by. Bridge the gap…JFDI. If BA and Unite can’t bridge it, Mr Cameron, this has to be in the National interest. If they won’t then remove the B from their name as they don’t deserve it.

Quite how the Daily Telegraph believes that it is in the National interest to keep running expenses stories is beyond me. Does anyone believe that the new Laws and Alexander stories are new? Or have the Telegraph been holding them waiting for a damaging time to use them?  Stupid, self-interested journalists with nothing but destruction in mind. Another systematic picking apart of our national self-esteem.

To find another IP angle I saw this in the Guardian today. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/may/31/mergers-acquisitions-vince-cable

If you really look behind foreign takeovers of UK firms, what are people buying? Answer—British IP  and intangibles. From Tata’s acquisition of JLR (brand, innovative skills, know-how bought at a monster discount) to SAICs of Rover (ditto, except all of the valuable Rover formal IP for close to nothing), to Kraft’s of Cadbury (generations of heritage and a fantastic brand), to the Qatari government’s buying Harrods (albeit from Mr al-Fayed), to football clubs now owned by a slew of Billionaires of varying integrity, what on earth are we going to have left when we finally wake up and realise we’ve sold all the shop?

I do fear. I really do fear. As a message to David Cameron, please work out and fast what we as a country are good at. There are things, innovation, heritage, some technologies, banking, tradition, integrity. And really focus on our brand values and what makes people want to keep coming to the UK and dealing with the UK. Focus on them and nurture them, be seen when they are under threat, be vocal when they are to be praised. Either that or you’ll be able to switch off the lights when it’s time to close up.

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Omigosh what a big IP news week. So much to talk about all condensed in one week. If I didn’t know the IP market better I’d almost call it a wave.

Thanks to one of our IP ambassadors, Giles Peddy at Hotwire PR http://www.hotwirepr.com/company.html we came across this today. Under the compelling title

Firms with strong intellectual property strategies fare better in raising capital

“Patents alone not enough, says MIT Sloan School of Management senior lecturer.”

CHECK…IT…OUT! MIT validate our business model.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/intellectual-property-strategies.html

I love the title. Love the first few paragraphs. Love the essence of the story. Then, oh no……….it turns into just another patents story.

It is still a great read. Still worth talking about, but to repeat, IP is not all about patents, and it’s not Mr Hadzima Jr, even just about managing patents better. IP is much much wider, and goes right to the heart of what makes a business special and sustainable. Often this is half a dozen items of core know-how, or a core skill or a relationship. Where patents are the most appropriate form of protection, I totally agree with the conclusion. But it is only a small part of the intangibles story. And let’s be truthful, many companies seeking investment only file patents because they’re seeking investment. Not because they truly believe in the system.

I’ll be using this piece of quality collateral though wherever I wander. Thank you Giles.

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Nortel Patent Sale & Bikram Yoga-great combination

May 28, 2010

Joff Wild at the IAM Blog http://www.iam-magazine.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?g=62e97da6-3b56-48a0-a853-044df49b0276 is reporting that the Nortel patent portfolio is up for sale. I’ve added a comment about the price and some conjecture on who might be the bidders but after an hour and a half of sweaty yoga I reckon there are others to consider. Here is my comment, […]

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Salesforce CEO Accuses Microsoft of being a Patent Troll

May 26, 2010

Lots of good IP news around. If anyone doesn’t know Wendy Chou at Choumedia http://www.choumedia.com/it’s worth checking out her good spot of this news story today that is referenced on her linkedin page. Try this link out http://www.itproportal.com/portal/news/article/2010/5/26/salesforce-ceo-hits-out-patent-troll-microsoft/ How to make sense of this one? Well, several years ago, Microsoft was the perennial patent loser. […]

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Synthetic Life-To Patent or Not to Patent

May 25, 2010

On a more IP and serious note, there is a good exchange of views on the merits and demerits of patents being filed on synthetic life on the BBC website today. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10150685.stm So what do we think—is this a good thing or a bad thing? At the risk of re-opening up old debates with my […]

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My type of CEO

May 25, 2010

Ok, so I wasn’t there, don’t know the context and I know it isn’t particularly a politically correct thing to do, but it did make me smile in today’s news that Yahoo’s CEO, 16 months into her role, decided to take on the doom-mongers and fight back. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/may/24/yahoo-nokia-join-forces Well done Ms Bartz……you could be a […]

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Flooding Germany with Software Patents?

May 23, 2010

There’s a blog entry over on the FOSS patents blog from software patent campaigner Florian Müller in which he comments on the German Federal Court of Justice’s (Bundesgerichtshof) “Dynamische Dokumentengenerierung” (=dynamic document generation) decision in a Siemens application on a method for producing a document display. Florian compares the German decision with the pending US […]

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Patent Pending

May 1, 2010

Denis Crouch over at the Patently-O blog has done an interesting piece of calculation showing that the average pendency of patents in the USPTO is around 4.1 years for those patents not claiming priority to a US provisional application. Now there’s a number of companies out there who are happy that their patents take a […]

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