2013: how was it for you?
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

2013: how was it for you?

Was 2013 a tough year for patent owners, or did it bring positive developments? And what does 2014 have in store?


According to IP Nav, a company which monetises clients’ IP portfolios, 2013 was “a tough year for patent owners”.

Exhibit number one, according to IP Nav’s blog post, was that “[US] Congress seems hell-bent on eroding the rights of patent owners”. Further evidence came in the form of attacks on IP by economists (which we commented on here) and proposed intervention by the US Supreme Court on fee awards and software patentability.

You might add that developments outside the US reinforce this argument, such as the Glivec decision in India and Commissioner Almunia’s comments about competition and patents in Europe.

However, I’m not sure all patent owners would agree with IP Nav’s analysis: some at least welcome the Congressional action; data suggests that inventors are still filing patents in record numbers, particularly in emerging markets in Asia; there were some significant damages awards; patent portfolios are still being traded; and there are signs that transparency is increasing. Many patent practitioners say they had their busiest, and most lucrative, years ever.


The past 12 months also saw a number of developments that may or may not lead to good news for patent owners in the longer term, depending on what happens this year (and to some extent on your personal perspective). As well as the Innovation Act and its siblings in Congress, there is the EU Unitary Patent and UPC (discussed by European Commission official Kerstin Jorna (left) this week); plans to harmonise trade secrets protection in the EU; and the global PPH which launched this week.

What else can we expect in 2014? Some clarity about patent eligibility from the US Supreme Court in the Alice case would be welcome along with strong leadership, or indeed any leadership, at the USPTO. European practitioners would like to see more details about the UPC rules and the unitary patent costs while in China we will find out what Shen Changyu brings to the role of SIPO director. More generally, competition issues and particularly FRAND cases will get lots of attention and hopefully some resolution.

Here are two further predictions, though Managing IP accepts no responsibility if they turn out to be wrong: Apple and Samsung will settle their multi-jurisdiction dispute; and consolidation of IP practices, particularly in Europe, will accelerate.

How was your 2013 in patents? And what are your hopes and fears for 2014? Please send us your comments.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Law firms that pay close attention to their client relationships are more likely to win repeat work, according to a survey of nearly 29,000 in-house counsel
The EMEA research period is open until May 31
Practitioners analyse a survey on how law firms prove value to their clients and reflect on why the concept can be hard to pin down
The winner of Managing IP’s Life Achievement Award discusses 50 years in IP law and how even he can’t avoid imposter syndrome
Saya Choudhary of Singh & Singh explains how her team navigated nine years of litigation to secure record damages of $29 million and the lessons learned along the way
The full list of finalists has been revealed and the winners will be presented on June 20 at the Metropolitan Club in New York
A team of IP and media law specialists has joined from SKW Schwarz alongside a former counsel at Sky
The Irish government has delayed a planned referendum on whether Ireland should join the Unified Patent Court, prompting concern about when a vote may take place
With more than 250 winners recognised during the ceremony, there are many reasons to be positive about the health of the IP industry in EMEA
Gift this article