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MoFo Tech

A blog dedicated to information, trend spotting & analysis for science- & tech-based companies

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How the Patent Non-Assertion Pledge Can be a Savvy Business Strategy

Tesla’s recent pledge not to sue those who use its patent-protected technology is evidence of the broadening popularity of patent non-assertion strategies outside the formal standard-setting process. But those who would rely on such pledges still need to read the fine print. It was nearly a decade ago that IBM announced it would allow free access to a portfolio of more than 500 patents for those using them to develop or distribute certain open-source software. Since then, a number of other tech companies have issued their own patent non-assertion pledges. In 2012, Twitter promised that it would not wield its patents in litigation. Google now lists dozens of patents it won’t enforce unless it is sued first. Continue Reading

Uncharted Territory

Entrepreneurs Break New Ground at a Startup Incubator in the U.S. Capital

Tech entrepreneurs talk so much about “making the world a better place” that the phrase has been satirized on the HBO series Silicon Valley. That didn’t deter Evan Burfield and Donna Harris from dubbing their Washington, D.C.-based business incubator 1776, giving it the motto “Where Revolutions Begin” and dedicating it to “reinventing our lives as citizens.” In this Q&A, Burfield and Harris discuss how startups use Washington as a base as they tackle some of the country’s (and the world’s) biggest challenges. Continue Reading

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, FRAND World

Early Determinations of Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory License Payments Have Been Anything but Consistent

When an invention claimed in a patent is essential to complying with a technical operating standard—say, for a device to connect to Wi-Fi or a 3G wireless network—it is considered a Standard Essential Patent, or SEP.

Under the rules of many standard-setting organizations, the holders of such patents must agree to license them to others at a rate that’s considered FRAND: fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory.

But when the parties can’t agree on what’s FRAND, the dispute can end up in court. Continue Reading

It’s (Not) Only a Movie

By Advancing Film Digitization, Consolidating Content Delivery, and Adding Mobile Capabilities, Sam Sahana Helps Odeon’s Theaters Drive Sales and Fill Seats

First, he brought mobile boarding passes to airports. Now, Sam Sahana is helping theaters make the most of the mobile and digital experience. From mobile apps to speed the sales of tickets and popcorn to booking a theater via social media just for friends, Sahana understands the value of bringing a mobile device to the theater even if you are expected to turn it off once the movie begins. He also understands that the new economic frontier in the film exhibition business is e-commerce.

“This time in the industry is critical,” says Sahana, currently CTO of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group. “I’ve been very fortunate because I led transformation with the airlines launching their portals. That was the beginning of my e-commerce career, and I have a long history of doing this. I’m fortunate to have the right team and industry climate so that I can replicate the experience with Odeon.” Continue Reading

Secrets in the Spotlight

Companies May Get a New Weapon in the Fight Against Economic Espionage

Efforts to protect property from global threats gained momentum in Washington this summer with the introduction of a pair of bills that would create a federal civil cause of action for trade secret theft.

Currently, intellectual property owners that want to file suit for trade secret theft can only do so in state court. Under the Senate’s Defend Trade Secrets Act and the House’s Trade Secrets Protection Act, plaintiffs could sue in federal court, where it can be easier to reach defendants that have fled to another state or country. Continue Reading