Apple v Samsung: The War Over “Cool”

By Neil Wilkof Last August, we published a blog post–“Apple v Samsung: Don’t Take Your Eyes Off the Brand and User App Ball” (here) in which we questioned whether Apple’s successful verdict in suit against Samsung would be a game changer in the smartphone world. Views were heard far and wide than the case would have […]

The Rebranding of Blackberry: Of Geese, Ganders and Keys

By Neil Wilkof As probably many Kat readers are well aware, Research in Motion (RIM) issued three announcements at the end of January—one large, one medium and one small (sort of like the egg rack at this Kat’s local grocery) here. First the “large”—after much anticipation, the company announced the launch of the BlackBerry10 smartphone […]

What Exactly Does Intellectual Ventures Do That Seems to Bother (Some) People?

By Neil Wilkof There are few companies in the IP firmament that attract as much as pro and con as Intellectual Ventures, here and here. Since its establishment more than a decade ago, this privately-held company has engaged in a combination of carrying out internal R&D, partnering with research entities and acquiring patent rights (apparently […]

Medical Product Developments and the Valley of Death

By Neil Wilkof It is called the “valley of death”. While the phrase may seem to conjure up the words of the 23rd Psalm written over two millennia ago (“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”), we are talking  about something that is very here and now—the financing of medical […]

The Pareto Principle and the Commercial World of Smartphone Apps

By Neil Wilkof I will admit: I am Pareto’s principal devotee. The basic idea that numerous phenomena can be characterized by the “notion of the vital few” will account for the lion’s share of something seems to resonate with my own anecdotal and analytical experience. Often referred to as the “80/20 rule” (such as “80% […]

Crowdsourcing against “Bad” Patents and Patent Trolls: But Not All Black and White

By Neil Wilkof The notion that there are “bad” patents, which I take to mean that the patent should never have been granted — or that even if it was granted, the scope of the claims are too broad — is widely expressed. There is a parallel Darth Vader patent notion, namely, the deleterious effects […]

Against the Odds: How the Bar Code Has Become Part of Everyday Life

By Neil Wilkof His passing away on December 9, 2012, at the age of 91, attracted some media attention, including in The New York Times on December 13, 2012 here and in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, in its most recent edition. The “he” is N. Joseph Woodland, and he was a co-inventor (along with Bernard Silver) of […]

When Should a Start-Up Seek Patent Protection?

By Neil Wilkof In carrying out due diligence, how many times have I heard this refrain from a start-up: “Oh yes, we have a couple of a patents or patent applications, but they don’t really address our current activities.” And so I ask–“so what about seeking patent protection for the current activities?” The answer tends […]

An Innovation Cliff? Is It P&G’s Problem or All Our Problem?

By Neil Wilkof Forget Silicon Valley and Apple. If one really wants to understand long-term success in innovation, one should leave the California West Coast and sojourn in the US Midwest. In particular, one should focus on the likes of 3M (in Minneapolis) here  and Procter & Gamble (in Cincinnati) here. Is is here, where […]

University-generated information: Is it more public or private?

By Neil Wilkof The involvement of universities in commercial activities is a complex issue. Roughly speaking, these endeavours can be divided into two categories. First there is the commercialization of publicly-funded university research and the concomitant rise of technology university transfer offers. Secondly, especially in the U.S., universities have sought to earn licence fees through […]