From the Desk of JMB: Insights into the Chinese IP Sector. Happy New Year!

During the first week of December 2014, together with my colleague Dr. Mike Hammer, I visited a number of IP practices in Beijing. The next week, I continued my sojourn in China alone, travelling to Shanghai for the IPBCAsia 2014 conference, and then visiting a number of local IP practices in what is widely considered to be the business capital of China. Apart from the exhilarating experience of visiting China for the first time, my visit provided an opportunity to better understand the attitudes of the my fellow IP practitioners in China and, vicariously, of his or her clients.

China’s IP system is young and constantly evolving. In life we tend to look at a situation and form an opinion. While that opinion may be right for that instant in time, it is often never revisited, and can influence many of our decisions in the future, even if the situation has changed.

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From the Desk of JMB: Tell me what you think of Patents, and I’ll tell you who you are

It’s official. On June 12, 2014 the LA Times reported a statement by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, Inc., that “he was opening up the electric car company’s patents to all comers.” The lead line on this was the very trendy, almost post modern statement that “the Tesla Model S just became the world’s first open-source car.”  It has been suggested that behind Tesla’s radical decision was the realization that they cannot do it all alone. They need others to use their technology and to create a demand for the infrastructure that a Tesla-driven electric car market would need in order to become a real mainstream alternative.

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From the Desk of JMB: Why on Earth do you need a Patent?

If you are involved in technology or science or if you are a manufacturing company, conventional wisdom says that you need a patent (or several patents). Why? In fact, you may say to yourself exactly what I have heard over the years, that “I’m not going to sue anyone” or words to that effect. But having a patent will enable me to practice the invention.

If this sounds familiar to you, then you should think again. As a patent attorney, it’s my job to help you get patents. But the patents that you need are those that will potentially add value to your company, so for the right types of invention, they should be drafted and filed in the right manner, and the examination should be handled in the way that is to your maximum benefit. Quickly, efficiently, least number of professional hands involved, and yes, in a cost-effective way.

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From the Desk of JMB: Soft IP or Hard Currency?

One of the unannounced debates in the world of IP professionals revolves around a comparison of patents and trademarks. An outsider probably doesn’t even think about it. After all, IP is IP. It’s a bunch of rules that, depending on your point of view, are either designed to prevent the public from freely copying what they should be able to copy simply because they can (anyone remember Napster?) or, it’s an imperfect system of carefully worded laws that define a public contract between state and citizen so as to incentivize creation and enrich society by imparting financial value to the creators.

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From the Desk of JMB: Guest Author: Mike Hammer: Proximity and Perspective: A Year of Direct USPTO Filing and Prosecution from Israel

Just over a year ago, I was entrusted with directing the US operations of JMB Davis Ben-David. However, as our firm is based in Israel, I was to do this from my desk in Jerusalem, some 7,000 miles away from the US. Given the way intellectual property law is traditionally practiced globally, this was not an immediately obvious service for our firm to provide.  After all, how can an IP firm located outside the US represent a client before the USPTO?! 

In retrospect, this decision was highly logical and helpful, both to our domestic clients and to many of our overseas clients. Our experienced team includes several US-licensed patent attorneys and agents, some of whom worked at US law firms before moving to Israel; and our clients are continually seeking to decrease costs, and increase speed and efficiency.  But still, did it really make sense for clients to use an Israel-based firm to represent them or their clients before the USPTO?! 

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From the Desk of JMB: A Crash Course in Monetization

“A business strategy without an IP strategy is no strategy”. These were the words with which Frans van Houten, the CEO of Philips started the by now bi-annual two day crash course in monetization of IP, particularly patents. For the uninitiated, the ‘crash course’ to which I refer was the IP Business Congress (IPBC) 2014 in Amsterdam, Holland, organized by the irrepressible Joff Wild, editor of the IAM (Intellectual Asset Magazine).

For those of you who were not able to attend this year’s Congress or have never been to this Congress, let me take this opportunity to fill you in on the goings on.  (more…)

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From the Desk of JMB: So How Big is Israel? No, Really.

There is an ever-growing number of multinationals who are benefitting from having a presence in Israel. They range from the unsurprising US-based corporations such as Intel, HP, Johnson & Johnson, Philips, Pfizer and Google to corporations from the Far East such as Samsung, Toshiba and Sony, and include other corporations from China, for example, such as Huawei and xiaomi.com.  (more…)

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Leading up to the MIXiii Conference – the annual showcase of Israel’s Biomed and Hi-tech Scene

It was a number of years ago, when visiting a location in the Negev desert in the south of Israel, that I really started to understand Israel’s strategic location in this part of the World, and not just as the bread basket of the ancient Near East and the home of cultivated crops (particularly wheat). I was with a group tour to a place called Avdat which was a fortress town along the ancient Nabataean spice route extending from Yemen, across the Arabian peninsula and through to the Mediterranean ports, from which the sought after spices such as myrrh and frankincense would be shipped for sale to Europe. (more…)

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From the Desk of JMB: Back to China–No guarantees, but at least play the game!

In the excitement of rushing off to the Israel Dealmakers Summit in New York at the beginning of March, one might have thought that I had forgotten about the wonderful seminar staged by the IVC in Tel Aviv “Doing Business in China” at the end of the previous week. I hadn’t. But China, in many ways, is the other end of the spectrum from Israel, and requires a little bit more thinking about. The larger something is, the greater the distance required in order to stand back and consider it so as to gain proper perspective.

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From the Desk of JMB: Israel Start Up Nation–Fact or Fiction?

I have just returned from two days in New York at the Israel Dealmakers Summit. In its 7th year, this was an event orchestrated by Landmark Ventures. Almost to perfection, I might add. It was an event quite unlike any other that I have had the privilege of attending. I normally go to conferences with my colleagues in the IP field from around the world, prearranging as many networking meetings as possible. Only then do I feel that I have used my time well. This time however, I didn’t know whether the individuals that I would end up talking to would be fresh entrepreneurs, successful post startup serial entrepreneurs, investors, crowd funders, venture capitalists or other assorted service providers. I was there to listen, learn, and go wherever the flow would take me. (more…)

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