The American and Chinese trade war is near to boiling. The American attempt to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has failed; China might be behind the Marriott data breach; and China might've caused a massive internet disruption. But one perpetual sore point between the US and China -- intellectual property (IP) abuse -- is taking a step for the better. Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial are joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), the pro-open source and Linux patent-protection group. Alibaba -- think of it as China's Amazon and eBay -- has a net worth of over $80 billion dollars.
The extent to which scientific advances support marketplace inventions is largely unknown. We study 4.8 million U.S. patents and 32 million research articles to determine the minimum citation distance between patented inventions and prior scientific advances. We find that most cited research articles (80%) link forward to a future patent. Linked papers and patents typically stand 2 to 4 degrees distant from the other domain. Yet, advances directly along the patent-paper boundary are notably more impactful within their own domains.
Not content with patenting the marvellous invention of a paper bag, Apple decided that ordinary pizza boxes simply weren't up to the job in its white and shiny world. Behold the circular, Apple-approved pizza box to end all pizza boxes. Published in 2012 – with one box apparently signed as a mark of respect on the death of the Apple founder, Steve Jobs – the patent says that the new and improved circular pizza receptacle's invention is credited to Apple's head of food services, Francesco Longoni. It was intended for use in the company's Caffè Macs and the new Apple Park cafe. The patent describes a "container that is structurally stable enough for containing an item in a variety of applications and is also environmentally friendly".
ARMONK, N.Y. - 09 Jan 2017: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it broke the U.S. patent record with 8,088 patents granted to its inventors in 2016, marking the 24th consecutive year of innovation leadership. IBM's 2016 patent output covers a diverse range of inventions in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, cybersecurity and other strategic growth areas for the company. "Leading the world in innovation for 24 years in a row is a result of IBM's unmatched commitment to innovation and R&D–reflected in this year's new U.S. patent record, breaking the 8,000 barrier for the first time," said Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO. "We are deeply proud of our inventors' unique contributions to discovery, science and technology that are driving progress across business and society and opening the new era of cognitive business." More than 8,500 IBM inventors residing in 47 states and territories and 47 countries are responsible for IBM's record-setting 2016 patent tally.
In an earlier article, Can AI inventions be patented in Europe?, we discussed how the EPO is likely to assess patent applications directed towards AI. The EPO has now updated its official guidelines to include a specific section on this topic. A preview of the update can be found here and will come into force on 1st November 2018. The update to the guidelines provides further clarity on how the EPO's existing legal framework will be applied to AI inventions. Generally, the update confirms that the same rules that are applied to all computer-implemented inventions will apply to inventions involving AI.