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 Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
On Tuesday, Microsoft and Politico hosted an interactive conversation addressing how innovative technologies are changing the policy and practice of health care. The discussion addressed the role technology can play in improving and changing health care, focusing on topics such as mobile medical apps and doctor-patient communication.
Posted by Fred HumphriesVice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft
Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued its “Special 301” report. This annual review of the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement around the world identifies both the progress and continuing challenges that exist with respect to IPR enforcement. In an unusual step, the Administration today designated Ukraine as a “priority foreign country” (PFC) which begins an investigation leading to possible sanctions consistent with trade statutes. Software piracy was identified as one of three issues that led to the designation.
PFC designation is a serious tool in IPR enforcement.
IPR protection is one of the key drivers of sustained economic growth and innovation, and Ukraine has enormous potential in this area. In July last year, Team quadSquad from Ukraine won the Imagine Cup, a world-wide competition sponsored by Microsoft for its winning project, Enable Talk, a software solution that transforms sign language into a form of verbal communication through sensor-equipped gloves and a mobile device. Without question, Ukraine has some of the best and brightest engineers and software developers who would benefit from a robust IPR regime.
It’s easy for us to overlook the role intellectual property can play in improving lives when it contributes to the arts and technology. Patents not only protect new ideas, but also provide an avenue for technology advancements to reach the broader industry, where they are often built upon and grow into even more advanced solutions. Every year on April 26, the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) invites inventors large and small to take some time to remind ourselves what thinkers and doers can do when they put their minds to it.
Today, Microsoft marks World IP Day by sharing a closer look at two of our inventors who push the envelope with creative inventions. Asta Roseway from Microsoft Research, known for her work on the “Printing Dress”, shares the background of her first patent for a cinematic gaming invention “Spectator Experience,” and Ali Khan from Server and Tools describes the work behind his patent to improve wireless data transmission.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Today, we’re pleased to announce that ZTE, one of the world’s largest smartphone companies, has joined a long list of companies that have signed patent license agreements with Microsoft. Under the agreement, Microsoft grants ZTE a license to Microsoft’s worldwide patent portfolio for ZTE phones, tablets, computers and other devices running Android and Chrome OS. This follows our announcement last week of a similar agreement with Foxconn’s parent company, Hon Hai.
The ZTE and Foxconn agreements show once more that technology companies around the world, including some of the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturers anchored in China, recognize licensing is an effective way to share technology and build on each other’s work, accelerating the pace of innovation and delighting customers.