Organization Critical for Patent Administrative House

Patents can prove to be valuable assets to companies. However, patents have expiration dates. In fact, in 2012, nearly 12,800 patents expired among just 10 companies with the most patent expirations. While patent expirations may come as no surprise, it can be surprising to learn that some patents expire because patent owners neglect to pay maintenance fees. In these cases, the patents are considered abandoned. Last year, these same 10 companies abandoned nearly 8,000 of the expired patents for the year. While some of the patent owners may purposely let patents expire due to loss of validity and/or value, others inadvertently miss maintenance fee due dates.

How do patent owners inadvertently miss paying maintenance fees? Many times, issues begin with patent applications. Some of the biggest and common mistakes in filing patents are the frequency of typos, missing contact information, and failure to notify the USPTO of address changes. For example, over a five-year period one patent prosecution firm had its name listed 28 different ways across more than 400 patents it prosecuted.

The USPTO mails notices to patent owners regarding patent maintenance fees. If a patent owner neglects to notify the USPTO of an address change, or the address on file contains misspelled or missing information, then the notice may not reach the patent owner. By the time the patent owner realizes there is an issue, it may be too late to correct administrative problems. In such cases, a patent owner may lose all rights to a patent, which would then belong to the public domain. Therefore, simple filing mistakes can prove costly down the road.

In other cases, companies may have very large patent portfolios, making it difficult to keep up with hundreds or even thousands of maintenance fee dates. Staying organized and ensuring accurate information is filed are key to maintaining patent protection, which gives a patent owner enforceable legal rights to keep others from infringing on an invention. If a patent owner fails to pay maintenance fees, then the patent becomes public domain and anybody can practice the invention described in the patent without legal repercussions.

Fortunately, IP Software, Inc., a firm focused on providing intellectual property (IP) analytical tools, offers a tool to help patent owners keep track of their patent portfolios. Known as the first true patent analytical platform, ipAnalytx provides key insights and intelligence into the patent landscape. This tool provides detailed information regarding abandoned patents, applications, expired patents, maintenance fees, and so much more to keep the administrative house in order. ipAnalytx can provide detailed patent information, even if a misspelling exists. Patent owners can avoid thousands of inadvertent patent abandonments that take place each year by investing in an IP analytical tool such as ipAnalytx. To learn more about ipAnalytx, contact a representative today at 317.569.1313.

Patent Portfolio Analysis Provides Powerful Insight for Buying Stocks

For many investors, buying stocks seems like a science of its own. So many elements have to be considered when deciding which stocks to invest in. Some of the common elements that investors consider include a company’s earnings and dividends, the type of products offered, the state of the current market, and the price-to-book ratio. For instance, is a new product or an essential one the best investment? Is there a recession or is the market rising? Does a long-term or a short-term investment make sense? After deciding which stocks to purchase, the investor’s task is not over. Investors should analyze how the market is doing to view which products and services are consistently thriving. Based on the results, investors should re-evaluate their investments occasionally to see if they’d still purchase a particular stock after some time has lapsed. In other words, does the investment still make sense years after the initial purchase?

One important element that investors may not realize is the state of a company’s patent portfolio. Companies with large patent portfolios tend to thrive better in the market than their competitors. Patents give companies the ability to stop competitors from selling similar inventions in the market. They also give companies the ability to price products higher than their competitors, positioning them favorably in the market. Furthermore, patents protect them in the event of a lawsuit and can arm them when necessary to stop others from infringing on their products. Patents are also important for start-up companies that are looking for investors to fund their ideas. Since start-up companies are new to the market, investors like to know what they paying for. Therefore, it is ideal for start-up companies to invest in patent valuations so they can provide some indication to investors of what a patent is worth.

While understanding the size of a patent portfolio is important, it is also important for investors to analyze those portfolios to gain insight on individual patents. For instance, are the patents close to expiring? If so, this can put pressure on a company’s market stance. The life of a patent doesn’t last forever, which means that a company will have to compensate when a patent is close to expiration. How will the company make up for the expiration? Does the company have new inventions in place to make up for the expiration? For instance, Pfizer and Lilly stocks plummeted when patents expired for Lipitor, Zyprexa, and other drugs. This left the door wide open for generic counterparts to take the place of those drugs at a lower price. While Pfizer and Lilly have rebounded, they’ve had to compensate in other ways – like cost cutting. They still had to pay a price. Investors must take such instances into consideration to protect their investments.

As you can see, investors can learn a lot about the potential success of a company in the market based on its patent portfolio. Patent portfolios give tremendous insight into a company’s marketability, future potential, and ability to compete. With an increased focus on intellectual property, patents are becoming increasingly important to any successful business. Even big name companies like Google, Apple, and others have purchased large amounts of patents in the last few years to strengthen their portfolios and market position. Therefore, when investors analyze a company’s patent portfolio, they have a good grasp on where they stand with their investments.

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Five Patent Observations in 2013

Over the past year, our proprietary database has identified some interesting patent activities. These activities highlight the overall patent sector, revealing the top patent accumulators, top patent transactions, top patent agents, and much more. The five insightful patent observations in the last year taken from December 26, 2012 to December 26, 2013 are as follows.

1. Grants and Applications: IBM retains #1 position for the most patent applications and patent grants. It appears that IBM may retain its position for years to come as the closest companies with the most grants and applications are nearly 60% lower on average. As of December 26, 2013, IBM received 6,388 patent grants over the last year, while Samsung came in second with 3,677 patents. For patent applications, IBM had 7,047 over the last year, while Samsung came in second with 4,104. The top three patent classes for which IBM has been awarded patents and files applications involve data processing, electrical computers and digital processing systems, and semiconductor device manufacturing.

2. Geographical Grants: The geographical area with the largest volume of grants for the year was Armonk, NY with 6,541. This comes as no surprise given that Armonk is home to IBM. However, Tokyo, Japan far surpasses any other city around the world with 28,113 patent grants.

3. Patent Class: Class 430 – Radiation Imagery Chemistry represented the patent class with the most patent activity at 59,873. The majority of the activity took the form of patent transactions at 57,197. Class 257 – Active Solid-State Devices represented the patent class with the most patent applications at 12,241 for the year. Class 370 – Class Multiplex Communications represented the patent class with the most patent awards at 9,311.

4. Patent Abandonments: IBM had the most patent abandonments at 1,333. Patent abandonments occur when companies do not keep up with maintenance fees. While IBM had a seemingly large amount of abandonments, there could be a logical explanation for them. For instance, with the massive amount of patent grants IBM receives each year and the number of patent applications the company files, IBM may purposely abandon patents for which a better or more pertinent invention exists compared to an obsolete invention. Furthermore, it may be more difficult for large companies with large portfolios to enforce maintenance upkeep.

5. Patent Agent: Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier, & Neustadt, L.L.P. is the top agent patent based on patent count. Based in Alexandria, VA, the firm was just 51 patents shy of prosecuting 6,000 patents in the last year, which is over 2,000 patents more than any other firm prosecuted.

These are just five observations that we’ve made. Our proprietary database, IPAnalytx, can produce many more results in a matter of minutes. With this information, you can make fast and sound business decisions. You can find out who your competitors are, find patent agents in your area, discover top patent classes, find abandoned patents, and much more. Discover how IPAnalytx can help you by contacting us today!

Top Recipients of Patents Based on Government-Funded Research

Some of today’s inventions derive from universities and companies that receive government funds to perform necessary research. Universities generally receive the majority of government funds for research purposes, but occasionally a corporation will receive government funding.

In 2013, the top three universities to receive patents based on government-funded research are The Regents of The University of California with 10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 8, and President and Fellows of Harvard College with 7. However, the entity to receive the most patents based on government-funded research was no other than IBM with 15.

Top patent classes for the top three universities include 530 – Chemistry, 252 – Compositions, 324 – Electricity, 343 – Communications, 706 – Data Processing, 424 – Drug, Bio-Affecting, and Body Treating Compositions, and 372 – Coherent Light Generators. The top patent classes for IBM include various Electrical Computer patent classes and 257 – Solid-State Devices.

As you can see, the entities that focus on areas concerning the medical and communications fields are more likely to receive government funds. These particular fields require constant improvements. With a technologically hungry society, the communications industry constantly tries to outdo competitors with the latest gadgets that make life easier. And as society continues to age and live longer, it demands more high-quality and effective products in the medical industry to keep people functioning more optimally.

As universities and IBM continue to research and promote medical and communications improvements, it is likely that they will remain top recipients of government funds. You can learn about the specific inventions these entities are creating by using ipAnalytx, the first true patent analytical tool on the market. Contact an ipAnalytx representative today at 317.569.1313.