Wednesday, January 19, 2005

HOLD YOUR PATENT OR JOIN A WORKING GROUP? Jose Cortina has an interseting article about companies working in industry standard groups and potential conflicts that may arise when patent portfolios clash with the interests of the group.

Standards organizations such as ANSI, IEEE, NISO and others have traditionally encouraged members of “working groups” who are active in developing industry standards to provide early disclosure to the technology community of those patents that may be essential for the use of the standards being developed. Industry giants that invest large sums in protecting their research and development must strike a balance between the benefits to be gained by enforcing their patent rights, and the benefits to be gained from being a participant in working groups that are setting standards.

If a patent appears to be of great value, and a company wants to maximize its return from that patent, the company may have to reevaluate its participation in working groups to avoid jeopardizing its ability to fully exploit the patent. As development of standards continues, companies must strike a balance in deciding whether or not to participate in such development if maximizing returns from patents is a significant goal.

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