Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Finnish Line

What are the factors that affect the value of a patent?   In a Finlands Bank publication titled Empirical Studies on the Private Value of Finnish Patents, Ms. Charlota Gronqvist studied the factors that impact the value of privately owned patents.  The study was published in March 2009 and dealt exclusive with patents issued in Finland.

While none of the results are unexpected, they do help confirm the conventional wisdom.   Some of the noteworthy results include:

The average Finnish patent was worth 7,550 Euros.  This value was imputed based on the patent renewal patterns of patent holders.  The theory is that the less valuable the patent, the less likely it is that patent holders will pay the renewal fees for their patent rights thus allowing Ms. Gronqvist to make her estimate.   The imputed values for patents in the chemical, electrical and pharmaceutical industries were significantly higher at 60,000 Euros.  Patents for musical instruments had the lowest imputed value of 2,985 Euros.

On average, patents owned by firms have imputed values 60% higher than patents owned by individuals.  As a rule, smaller firms hold more valuable patents than larger firms.  On average, more profitable firms also own more valuable patents.

Initially, "broader" patents are less valuable than the "narrower" patents that would protect specific products.  However, narrow patents lose value much more quickly over time than broader patents do.

These are pretty obvious results.  Patents should be more valuable in industries that have higher intellectual content like chemicals and pharmaceuticals.  Firms should be better able to commercialize inventions than individuals.  Profitable companies should have more profitable products which should increase the value of the underlying patent.  Narrow patents should be less valuable over time as the product they protect becomes obsolete.

It is just nice to know that the world really works that way.

Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:
 Extendable Spikes for Shoes.  Spikes mounted on shoes that can be extended through the use of compressed air.  The pump or compressed air can be contained within the shoe or provided externally.  Patent #:  8578631.  Inventors:  Francello, et al.  Assignee:  No Assignee.

Article of Footwear with Improved Stability and Balance:  A shoe where a rigid layer is mounted in the sole to act as an outsole helping to improve balance.  Patent #:  8578633.  Inventors:  Roether, et al.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc. 

Adjustable Orthopedic Device:  An adjustable orthopedic device includes a holder configured to be worn on a wearer's foot. The holder has an elastic cloth band sized to encircle the wearer's foot at a location between the wearer's toes and the wearer's ankle. A platform is removably secured into a pocket formed in the holder. Raised pads are provided for applying pressure to one or more bones of the wearer's foot, the raised pads include an adhesive surface providing a removable adherence to the top surface of the platform and allowing the raised pads to be manually repositionable to any X and Y coordinate on the platform.  Patent #:  8578634.  Inventors:   Nguyen and Freriks.  Not Assigned.

Polyolefin Fiber:  A method of making polyolefin fiber (polypropylene is a member of the polyolefin family) for spinning purposes.  This method is produces fibers with a more consistent structure and fewer fused borders. Patent #: 8578693.  Inventor: Marissen.  Assignee:  DSM IP Assets, B.V.  

Slider Needle with Improved Slider:  Modifications to an existing slider needle that provides improved precision of the slot guide and enlarges the penetration space between the slider springs.  Patent #: 8578740.  Inventors:  Schneider and Deitz.  Assignee:  Groz-Beckert, KG.

Automated Flanging Machine:  A machine for automatically sewing a flange onto a work panel. The machine has a table adapted to support a work panel, a sewing head mounted directly adjacent to the table for performing a sewing operation on the work panel, a turning arm mounted adjacent to the table, and a rear conveyor for selectively moving the work panel on the table.  Patent # 8578871.  Inventors:  Smith and Smith.  Assignee:  L & P Property Management Company

Roof Support Assembly for Collapsible Shelter:  A support assembly is provided for supporting a collapsible shelter structure, such as a ground blind for hunting. Patent #:  8578956.  Inventor:  Dankenbring.  Not Assigned.

Fabrics Having Double Layers of Terry or Pile:  A method of layering terry type fabrics.  The multiple layers allow control over less desirable characteristics of underlying fabrics.  An example given is that the multiple layers help the terry to stay soft after multiple laundering.  Patent #:  8478972.  Inventor:  Duan.  Not Assigned.

Footwear:  A shoe with springs in the sole that return some energy to the wearer when moving.  Patent #:  8578629:  Inventor:  Bosomworth, et al.  Assignee:  Salomon S.A.S.

 Cushioning Sole:  A shoe sole with a series of concentric “protuberances” that cushion the impact of landing.  Patent #:  8578630.  Inventors:  Diepenbrock.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Footwear Having Independently Articuable Toe Portions:  Shoe that allows independent articulation of corresponding individual toes of a foot inserted in the footwear, and where the sole includes contouring and curvature which intimately corresponds to the shape of the foot.  Patent #: 8572868.  Inventor:  Fliri.  Assignee:  Vibram S.p.A.

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

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