It seems hard to imagine life these days without our beloved smart phones. They have affected almost every facet of our daily lives to varying degrees and 15 years ago it would sound absurd to say that in the near future, everyone will have a device with the functionality of a computer, GPS, Camera, Audio device etc. in their pocket. However, it's also become a common occurrence to read about the latest big money law suit between the tech companies that have developed these technologies. And these are not your run of the mill legal squabbles; we're talking about multi BILLION dollar law suits, waged over the rights to the intellectual property that allows for a controlling interest in the global tech market. And yet, such high stakes have just become a part of doing business but it raises questions about how much damage is caused to the industry in the process and could there be a better way to resolve these conflicts?
To really understand the impact we must first look at how new ideas are developed and the legal process that protects the inventor's rights to be credited for their work. The truth is that there are very few NEW ideas orventions anymore. The majority of new ideas and technologies are at least partly based on old technologies and ideas, and there's nothing wrong with that. Most companies are not trying to reinvent the wheel; they're trying to improve it! It's more realistic to put a tire on it, change the material that they're made of, improve the tire tread etc. And this is where the legalities of such endeavors become tricky. To be able to register a trademark or a patent an improvement to a preexisting idea you must first enter into a licensing agreement with the owner of the original patent.
The problem in the tech industry at the moment is that there are so many overlapping patents that developers of new ideas (or improvements) do not know where to begin when trying to license the original patent that their improvement is based on. On top of that, the global technology market has made licensing fees inaccessible to smaller companies. Not only are the licensing fees a deterrent to smaller entities but the atmosphere of blood thirsty lawyers waiting to pounce on anyone who steps on their toes certainly does not help. Never before has it been more difficult for smaller tech startups to develop new technologies and bring them to market.
Not only do the "tech patent wars" stifle innovation in the industry but who really pays the cost of these multibillion dollar law suits? The consumer of course. Yes, it's a cost of doing business these days and all the costs associated with developing and selling a product must be bundled into the price of said product.
How do we fix the problem?
Much of the rhetorical that you're likely to read on a number of popular tech blogs like to point the finger at the USPTO and the "broken patent system" but who's to say that the patent system is not working as designed?
Firstly, we should clarify if this problem is insurmountable or even unexpected. It should not come as a surprise that this is not the first "patent war" we've ever seen. Not only that, but as far as these types of legal conflicts go historically, everything is on track to eventually work itself out. We just need to be patient enough to let things run their course and allow the legal system the time to do what they do and sort through all these overlapping intellectual property rights to decide who owns what and who owes who. Probably the first such conflict was the Sewing Machine patent war of the 1850s, which mirrors all of the same issues we're seeing in today's smart phone wars: patent-licensing entities, overlapping patents covering single products; expensive litigation etc. Sometimes, things worked out and everyone settled down.
That's not to say that the USPTO does not have some catching up to do to be able to operate as efficiently as it could be operating. Which is why the recently enacted America Invests Act aims to bring the patent system into the 21st century and make the patent application process more efficient by:
• Encouraging applicants to file their applications electronically. Applicants who opt for the paper filing option will be required to pay an additional $ 200 – $ 400 ($ 200 for smaller entities).
• Fast track application option. The USPTO will offer a "fast track" option, allowing applicants to expedite their applications for a surcharge of $ 4800 (or $ 2400 for smaller entities).
• Reduce the current backlog. Currently there is a backlog of approximately 680,000 patent applications. Because of new financial provisions in the AIA the USPTO will begin hiring new examiners and other personnel which will help to reduce this backlog and improve applicable wait times.
Furthermore, we've also seen measures taken by the US Federal Trade Commission to reign in the ever increasing number of intellectual property infringement suits. When Google acquires Motorola in 2012 for $ 12.5 billion it also took ownership of Motorola's patent portfolio of over 24,000 patents. The most significant exit of the 19 month long case is a legally binding agreement from Google to allow its competitors access to "standard essential patents". Those "standard essential patents" are basic patents that many NEW smartphone technologies need to access to, to be able to develop new products and improve old ones.
Between the AIA the FTC and legal system I think it's safe to say that things will settle down … eventually. But it's still anyone's guess as to when that will be.
When you are planning on celebrating a friend or family members birthday it is important that you find the best gift possible. There are a lot of good options when it comes to giving gifts to family and friends. Some people may choose to give tickets to a show, while others will search for an expensive gift. All of these gift options are great and will help signify your appreciation for this person. However, there is one option that has always been a classy gift option that will stand the test of time, the birthday card.
There are a multiple of card categories from Aunties to kids, cousins to pets. Whatever you want it is available to you out there. Whether niche or mainstream it is catered for. The main gifts and presents are usually from the high street stores. But the niche and a wider selection of gifts you'll find online. Type in the right keywords (Birthday cards online) and you'll locate the product you have searched for.
With a birthday card you will be able to show your friends or family members just how much you really care about them. There are many stores that focus on just birthday cards were you can ponder and view which one to select at you leisure. Also with the internet has come another option. Birthday cards online, from card stores and e-cards. E-cards are a digital card sent to computers, tablets and mobile phones. There are many sites offering a variety of e-cards and you'll find they are so easy to use. There are many options of sites from free online greeting card sites and membership sites and much more, so the choice is yours. By purchasing your cards online you can even use their suggested messages if you're stuck on the right birthday line to write.
There are a number of myths that must be dispelled before buying the perfect card.
- One belief that many people hold as true is that the more expensive a card, the better quality it will be. The truth is that cost has very little to do with it, and it is very possible to find a cheap card that is just as good.
- Another myth is that birthday cards should always be light and funny. Although everyone loves to laugh for some people a sincere and warm birthday card speaks volumes.
- The last myth of buying a good birthday card is that it should always be given with another present. Although people love receiving big and small gifts, a birthday card does not have to come with a gift to be considered classy.
When searching for a good birthday card understand that your options are unlimited. While some will search for a generic card to give, you can create one of your own. There are many card stores online and offline that will allow you to customize a card. This will ensure that the card is unique and one of a kind.
Hope you have learned something from this article.
Source by Tim Olden