物联网时代需要smarter的专利策略

物联网、人工指南等新技术的出现,其实给专利制度带来了很大的挑战,原有的专利法规则实际上很难适用在这些新技术上,而这些新技术想在旧规则体系下寻求保护,也成了很大的问题。就如同今天分享的文章所言,物联网技术专利保护主要面临4大挑战:

  1. 选择什么样的权利要求的保护范围?—同一项发明由多个装置协同工作,从不同的角度,可以申请不同的专利。
  2. 能否认定为共同侵权?—物联网技术是交互式的,涉及不同主体,能否认定是共同侵权?
  3. 是否属于保护客体?—物联网的相关算法、实时分析、生态系统等,是否属于保护的客体,在中国也会面临很大挑战。
  4. 如何保证专利质量?—正是为了避免上述问题,写出来的专利,要么保护范围太窄,要么太宽泛,很难保证质量。

本文提到了一个重要判例,是多主体领域共同侵权的重要研究资料:

Akamai v Limelight案中所规定的 – 当多方执行许多操作时可能存在侵权责任,例如,单个被告“在整个过程中”行使“控制或指导”,以便每一步都是归属于控制方“。这个判例给出了一个很高的标准。

总之,物联网时代的专利策略,确实需要一些改变。

后附翻译,仅供参考。

对物联网技术的分类,做专利分析的朋友也可以参考。

欢迎分享到朋友圈,或者,点击文末”好看“,让大岭一直给你好看,爱你们呦~~~

Smart devices in IoT need a smarter patenting strategy

Shyamal Kishore | November 28 2018

Patent drafting

The Internet of Things (IoT) was born when the number of connected devices exceeded the global population. With the IoT, the physical world is becoming one big information system. The number of IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017 and it is estimated that there will be 30 billion devices by 2020. This technology is expected to dramatically change not only how we work, but also how we live. With the decreasing cost of technology required to control these devices and increasing connectivity through smartphones, the IoT is expected to be an all-pervasive technology in the next 10 years. The global market value of the IoT is projected to reach $7.1 trillion by 2020. Further, a McKinsey study estimates that the potential economic impact of the IoT will rise from $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025 with applications in healthcare, manufacturing, power, urban infrastructure, security, vehicles and agriculture.

Patent landscape

The bulk of patent-related activity in the IoT domain is taking place in the sector of resource management in a wireless network. The patent distribution (owners) in this domain is fragmented. LG holds the largest patent portfolio (around 5%), closely followed by Ericsson and Qualcomm. The United States has the most patent filings, closely followed by Japan, Korea and China.

In terms of high-quality patent portfolios and patent filing activity, Qualcomm is the leader in this domain.

As is clear from the above, the IoT has been a hotbed of innovation with a large number of firms investing in this domain.

The challenges

Obtaining a patent in the IoT domain is not easy. Firms that operate and innovate in this sphere face several challenges, which can be broadly divided into four categories.

Challenge one: scope of claim

IoT systems involve multiple devices working together to achieve a particular goal. As a result, there are many different ways in which the same invention can be claimed in a patent application. These include:

  • device or apparatus claims that cover the IoT device (eg, components controlled by a controller or processor);
  • claims that cover the way that the IoT device operates or functions;
  • method claims that cover the way that IoT devices communicate with each other or with other types of devices (eg, routers, servers);
  • claims that cover the software-implemented processes performed by the IoT device;
  • software-styled claims that cover processes performed by a remote server (eg, in the Cloud) that communicates with the IoT device; and
  • claims that cover multiple IoT devices interacting with each other (eg, watch and phone, hub and beacons, router and Wi-Fi devices).

However, due to costs, most patent applications are limited to between two and four independent claims.

Challenge two: joint and divided infringement

IoT technology is interactive and often implemented by systems in multiple locations. An inventor could therefore end up with more than one party infringing its patent rights. The various components that create the IoT system can be sold, owned and operated by different companies.

Divided infringement deals with the question of whether there can be infringement liability when the infringement is split across multiple parties, actors or devices.

The current rule – as established in Akamai v Limelight – is that there may be infringement liability when the many operations are performed by multiple parties, for example, a single defendant “exercises ‘control or direction’ over the entire process such that every step is attributable to the controlling party”. However, this is a high standard to meet.

Challenge three: subject-matter eligibility post-Alice v CLS Bank:

Patenting inventions in the IoT domain has become more challenging in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Alice. The following explains the scenario in detail.

IoT broadly involves the convergence of many technologies, the chief among them being:

  • real-time analytics (Big Data algorithms);
  • machine learning (deep-learning algorithms);
  • commodity sensors (generic); and
  • embedded systems (well-known technology).

Essentially, the IoT employs the abovementioned technologies in their current state of art and does not improve their function. The IoT enables these technologies to connect and exchange data, thereby creating opportunities for a direct integration of the physical world with computer-based systems. This results in improvements in efficiency, economic benefit and reduced human exertion.

Since the underlying objective of IoT ecosystems is to make economic gains and optimise processes, there is a high chance of an IoT invention being characterised as an abstract idea that produces no technical improvement or tangible result.

Challenge four: patent quality

Many tech companies are stockpiling patents, but few of these patents contain strong claims, meaning that they either do not cover anything valuable (because the claims are too narrow) or they would be vulnerable to prior art challenges in inter partes review proceedings (because the claims are overly broad or nebulous).

However, as the USPTO and district courts continue to sort through the mess created by Alice, it is likely that the quality of IoT patents will improve as more companies start to put a stronger emphasis on drafting robust patent applications that will hold up under close scrutiny.

 

物联网中的智能设备需要更智能的专利策略

专利撰写

当连接设备的数量超过全球人口时,物联网(IoT)诞生了。物联网,物理世界正在成为一个重要的信息系统。2017年物联网设备数量达到84亿,预计到2020年将有300亿台设备。预计这项技术不仅将大大改变我们的工作方式,还将改变我们的生活方式。随着控制这些设备所需技术成本的降低以及通过智能手机增加连接性,物联网有望在未来10年内成为一种无处不在的技术。到2020年,物联网的全球市场价值预计将达到7.1万亿美元。此外,麦肯锡的一项研究估计,到2025年,物联网的潜在经济影响将从每年2.7万亿美元增加到6.2万亿美元,应用于医疗保健,制造业,电力,城市基础设施,安全,车辆和农业。

专利态势

物联网领域中与专利相关的大部分活动都发生在无线网络的资源管理领域。该领域的专利分配(所有者)是分散的。LG拥有最大的专利组合(约5%),紧随其后的是爱立信和高通。美国拥有最多的专利申请,紧随其后的是日本,韩国和中国。

在高质量的专利组合和专利申请活动方面,高通公司是该领域的领导者。

从上面可以清楚地看出,物联网一直是创新的温床,大量公司在这个领域进行投资。

 

挑战

在物联网领域获得专利并不容易。在这个领域经营和创新的公司面临着几个挑战,可以大致分为四类。

挑战一:权利要求范围

物联网系统涉及多个设备协同工作以实现特定目标。结果,在专利申请中可以有许多不同的方式来请求保护相同的发明。这些包括:

  • 覆盖IoT设备的设备或设备权利要求(例如,由控制器或处理器控制的组件);
  • 权利要求涵盖物联网设备运行或运行的方式;
  • 方法权利要求涵盖物联网设备彼此通信或与其他类型的设备(例如,路由器,服务器)通信的方式;
  • 权利要求涵盖由物联网设备执行的软件实现的过程;
  • 软件风格的权利要求,涵盖由与IoT设备通信的远程服务器(例如,在云中)执行的过程;
  • 权利要求涵盖了彼此交互的多个物联网设备(例如,手表和电话,集线器和信标,路由器和Wi-Fi设备)。

但是,由于成本原因,大多数专利申请仅限于两到四项独立权利要求。

 

挑战二:共同侵权

物联网技术是交互式的,通常由多个地点的系统实施。因此,发明人最终可能会有多个方侵犯其专利权。创建物联网系统的各种组件可以由不同的公司销售,拥有和运营。

共同侵权处理的问题是,当侵权行为分散在多方,参与者或设备之间时是否存在侵权责任。

目前的规则 – 如Akamai v Limelight案中所规定的 – 当多方执行许多操作时可能存在侵权责任,例如,单个被告“在整个过程中”行使“控制或指导”,以便每一步都是归属于控制方“。但是,这是一个很高的标准。

 

挑战三:Alice v CLS案后的客体资格:

在最高法院对Alice的裁决之后,物联网领域的发明专利变得更具挑战性。以下详细说明了该场景。

物联网广泛涉及许多技术的融合,其中主要是:

  • 实时分析(大数据算法);
  • 机器学习(深度学习算法);
  • 商品传感器(通用);
  • 嵌入式系统(众所周知的技术)。

本质上,物联网在其当前的技术水平中采用上述技术并且不改进其功能。物联网使这些技术能够连接和交换数据,从而为物理世界与基于计算机的系统直接集成创造了机会。这导致效率,经济效益和人类劳力减少的改善。

由于物联网生态系统的基本目标是实现经济收益和优化流程,因此物联网发明很有可能被描述为一种抽象概念,不产生技术改进或有形结果。

 

挑战四:专利质量

许多科技公司正在储存专利,但这些专利中很少有高强度的权利要求,这意味着它们要么不包括任何有价值的东西(因为权利要求过于狭窄),要么它们很容易受到IPR程序中的现有技术挑战(因为权利要求过于宽泛或模糊不清)。

然而,随着美国专利商标局和地区法院继续彻底解决Alice案创造的混乱局面,随着越来越多的公司开始更加强调起草强有力的专利申请,这些专利申请将受到密切关注,因此物联网专利的质量可能会提高。

Source: Sagacious Research

Each article is copyrighted to their original authors. The news is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice.

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