By Gabe Moretti, edadesignline.comApril 15, 2008
The IP Symposium is a collocated event to the Embedded Systems Conference and is taking place today and tomorrow at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, California. It should come as no surprise that the first day of the IP Symposium was almost entirely dedicated to legal and business issues related to the industry. Of the 12 sessions offered the first day, one was in two parts, only two addressed engineering issues.
It must be said, though, that it is extremely important for engineering managers, or for anyone contemplating a startup venture, to have some knowledge and appreciation for the legal vagaries that impact the development and use of Intellectual Property. At a time when every EDA startup must assure venture capital firms that it will not infringe existing patents and will generate its own patents portfolio in order to get funded, the keynote speeches by Peter Detkin and Michael Meurer were appropriate.
Peter Detkin is the founder and Vice-Chairman of Intellectual Ventures, a company that focuses on a variety of projects relating to intellectual property and invention. Peter drew a distinction between products and patents and stated that it is expensive to both obtain and defend a patent. He said that the mission of the patent system is to encourage and reward inventions and disclosures. Small inventors, defined as those entities that have less than 500 employees are responsible for 60% of US patents while the remaining 40% are granted to large companies. On the other hand, large companies collect over 90% of revenues derived from patents, while small companies are left with the "crumbs". He also pointed out that the average time required to go through the patent application process is now close to four years, and that, on the average, it takes just as long for a small inventor to negotiate licensing rights with a large company.
Click here to read more ...