Monthly Archives: June 2007

Patent Factoids

Some factoids about patents:

  • Typical cost to obtain a U.S. patent: $5,000 to $25,000. 
  • Cost to invalidate a patent: Legal fees average $4.5 million in patent disputes where more than $25 million is at risk.
  • Cost of obtaining a patent versus invalidating one: You do the math.
  • Number of inventions under active patent in the U.S.: 1.6 million
  • Number of patents owned by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), the 14 year recordholder of the largest number of patents awarded to a single company: 3,651.
  • Percentage of software patents to total patents awarded in the early 1980’s: 2%
  • Percentage of software patents to total patents awarded today: 15%

(I am not a registered patent attorney, and do not prosecute or litigate patents.  I’ve worked on many patent licenses and agreements over the years, though.)

(Source: "Businesses Battle Over Patent Laws," The Wall Street Journal, June 9-10, 2007.)

Size of the Intangible Economy

How large is the intangible economy in the U.S.? U.S. businesses invest about $1 trillion in intellectual property and other intangible assets, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Board.  That’s as much as they invest in equipment and other tangible investments. Intangible assets, including intellectual property, constitute nearly 1/3 of the value of… Continue Reading

Tension between Quality Methodologies/Six Sigma and Innovation

Business Week ran an interesting cover story about the tensions between quality methodologies such as Six Sigma, and innovation and creativity. In sum, "while process excellence demands precision, consistency, and repetition, innovation calls for variation, failure and serendipity."  According to Management Professor Vijay Govindarajan, "the more you hardwire a company on total quality management, [the… Continue Reading

Re-enter the Title Office – for Copyrights

In the old west, the land title office represented law and order, and helped keep the peace among ranchers, farmers and miners with competing claims.  In the movie version of the old west, the land title office invariably burns down… and the drama begins. It’s obvious that copyrights are critical to our economy, as the… Continue Reading