Posted by Horacio GutierrezDeputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
About a year ago my wife and I bought a house. Amidst all of the paperwork, loan disclosures and the like, one thing we received was a title report, confirming that the seller owned the property. And, once we closed escrow, the deed transferring ownership to me and my wife was recorded in the property register. Title information is important and useful – in my case, the house we wanted wasn’t listed for sale, but our realtor was able to contact the owner and see if they were interested in selling.
Unfortunately, you can’t do the same thing if you want to acquire or license a patent. Recording ownership in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s assignment database is at present voluntary, with the result that records of patent ownership are often inaccurate and incomplete. Some patent owners take advantage of this obscurity to try to hide what they own for tactical advantage in licensing negotiations or to avoid complying with patent licensing commitments.
Policymakers increasingly recognize that knowing who owns what patents is critical to a well-functioning patent system. Today, in a significant step forward, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced the “End Anonymous Patents Act,” which would require disclosure of the real party in interest of a patent upon issuance or, in cases where patents are transferred, within a short time after acquisition.
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Yesterday, Washington took an important step in helping create new opportunities for our state’s children and our economy. At Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, I had the opportunity to stand with Governor Jay Inslee as he signed into law SHB 1472, making AP computer science count as a math or science course in our state’s high schools. The signing of this bill is a major step forward for the future of technology and for the future of young people in this state. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Drew Hansen, Rep. Cyrus Habib, Rep. Chad Magendanz and Rep. Roger Freeman, the bill passed with strong bipartisan support.
Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith speaking at the signing of SHB1472 at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Wash.
Posted by Mary SnappDeputy General Counsel, Microsoft
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Microsoft’s new consumer privacy campaign and a quiz we developed – Your Privacy Type (YPT) – for consumers to gauge where they fall on the privacy continuum.
Thus far, the campaign and the YPT quiz have generated discussion and positive reactions in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Germany. We’re also seeing strong engagement with consumers on our website, which has been localized to German and now French as our advertising expands into France this week.
As part of the launch of the Your Privacy Type quiz, we surveyed 4,000 consumers in the U.K., France, U.S. and Germany (1,000 in each market) to gain a quantitative perspective of how they felt about privacy issues (using the same questions as our quiz online). We looked at the privacy behaviors and “privacy type” for each market and found some interesting results.
Eighty-four percent of those polled expressed concern about their online privacy. That particular finding was not surprising by itself, but interesting when compared to only 47 percent of the respondents who were actively taking measures to protect their privacy online. There’s a wide gap between interest and action.
Posted by Paul GarnettDirector, Technology Policy Group, Microsoft
Today at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, Microsoft announced a new pilot project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Microsoft will work in collaboration with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) and local Internet service provider UhuruOne to provide affordable wireless broadband access to university students and faculty. The pilot will target The University of Dar es Salaam, among others, and we expect that tens of thousands of Tanzanian students and faculty members could take advantage of the integrated solutions available through the project.
Information communications technology (ICT) holds enormous potential for many aspects of development, but is particularly key to education. Use of ICT in schools and universities can increase productivity, enable individualized and peer-to-peer learning and more easily adapt to meet the needs of learners with disabilities. It is particularly critical in emerging markets as it can level the playing field, enabling access to resources, such as international research and books, which would otherwise be difficult for either students or teachers to attain. Broadband Internet is therefore becoming an increasingly crucial component of high quality learning.
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Bindu Lohani, Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in how we think about solutions for global societal challenges. Take the apps revolution for a start. Apps are driving change at an incredibly fast pace - connecting millions more people to data and services. At the Asian Development Bank (ADB), we believe in the transformative power that apps will bring to citizens from all walks of life over the coming years.
This week, I am in India where ADB is holding its 46th Annual Meeting, and where we will recognize the “Apps For Asia: Redesigning Development” winners. Together with Microsoft, we’ve championed the Apps For Asia initiative, which aims to harness the creative power of hundreds of independent software developers across Asia and the Pacific to create apps that address societal challenges faced by governments, civil society and businesses in the region.
ADB provided guidance to program participants on the economic and social issues facing our 40 developing member countries and insight into their development priorities. The initiative was rolled out as a series of application training and development contests in Australia, India, Republic of Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, with the top three teams from each country exhibiting their apps at the annual meeting.