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Students of Invention: Edward Jung Visits Beijing’s Peking University

The lecture hall was standing-room only at Beijing’s Peking University as our co-founder and CTO Edward Jung spoke to 300 students about the importance of invention on March 10th. Several members of our IV-China office also couldn’t resist attending the lecture.

Students of Invention: Edward Jung Visits Beijing’s Peking University

In addition to stressing the necessity of invention, Edward explained that great ideas will be needed to address major problems being faced by the students’ generation. From challenges with healthcare and energy to ecological stress and China’s economic growth, great ideas will be necessary to sustain their country’s future.

Edward challenged the students to overcome the fear of failure, which can prevent brilliant minds from becoming prolific inventors. Drawing from personal examples, he made the case that failure can be a great starting point, and a few successes can more than make up for the failures. He encouraged students to seek out situations that will allow them to fail and learn from their mistakes. After a brief Q&A session, students and professors stayed behind to mingle with Edward and the IV team, and discussed topics including methods of invention and IV’s operations in China.

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Our perspective on events in Japan

Our work brings us into close collaboration with some of the foremost experts in the nuclear energy arena. At TerraPower, we are working to advance future designs, therefore we’re not directly involved in the current situation in Japan. We are, however, getting first-hand accounts about how the global nuclear industry is working together to resolve the situation. Because of the natural disaster and fast-changing circumstances at the plants, we won’t speculate on problems encountered at the facilities. However, in response to inquiries concerning TerraPower’s technology, the traveling wave technology is unlike any design built today. Visit the TerraPower post about the situation in Japan to learn more.

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IV reveals metamaterial-based satellite communications user terminal technology at Satellite 2011

On Wednesday, March 16, Russell Hannigan, director of business development at IV®, spoke about some of IV’s work in the metamaterials space and revealed for the first time a project to develop technology for a new kind of flat and thin antenna optimized for mobile broadband satellite communications, such as for boats, planes and other vehicles. Unlike all other competing products that require complicated motors to steer the antenna physically so that it remains locked on the satellite, IV’s Metamaterial Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T) is designed to steer a radio frequency beam electronically. Eliminating the motors greatly simplifies the user terminal, leading potentially to an order of magnitude reduction in size, weight, power and cost.

Russell joined a panel at SATELLITE 2011 in Washington D.C., where the title of his presentation was “Metamaterial Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T): Ka-band satcom user terminal employing metamaterial technology to enable electronic beam steering.” We asked him to answer some questions about metamaterials and the pioneering work IV is doing, as well as provide recommendations on where to learn more about this fascinating technology.

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The Detkin Intellectual Property and Technology Legal Clinic

The University of Pennsylvania Law School today announced the creation of the Detkin Intellectual Property and Technology Legal Clinic. The clinic was made possible by a generous gift from Intellectual Ventures Founder and Vice Chairman Peter Detkin, who is an alumnus of both Penn Law and the Penn School of Engineering and Applied Science, and is on the Penn Engineering Board of Overseers. The clinic will provide a hands-on, practical experience with the technological, legal and business aspects of commercializing innovation.

This personal gift by Peter was inspired by his career working with various aspects of IP - as a partner at a law firm, at Intel as a vice president and assistant general counsel responsible for the patent, litigation and licensing departments, and as a founder of Intellectual Ventures. Peter feels that an understanding of intellectual property is vital for all business professionals.

As Peter put it himself, “My career has been at the intersection of law and technology, and I believe that all business and technology professionals need a solid understanding of intellectual property. Inventors need to understand how to secure their rights, and business people, who may or may not be the inventors, need to know what to do with those rights.”

As companies continue to expand their IP strategies and technology becomes increasingly complex, programs like this IP clinic will become crucial for students exploring careers in technology or intellectual property law.

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Nathan Myhrvold Unveils IV’s Self-Sanitizing Surfaces

Every year in the U.S. there are 1.7 million in-hospital infections, resulting in nearly 100,000 needless deaths. Those sobering statistics were the inspiration behind a series of invention sessions at IV that looked at ways to cut down the number of infections in healthcare field.

At OneMedForum in January, IV’s CEO Nathan Myhrvold discussed a particular invention, the self-sanitizing surface, which resulted from some of these health technology invention sessions. You can also learn more about IV’s self-sanitizing surfaces on the IV Lab blog, and you can find more information on IV’s Health Technology Inventions on our website.

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Introducing…(Drumroll, Please)…Inventor Spotlights!

Today we’re launching a new section on our website called Inventor Spotlights. It’s designed to do exactly what it sounds like – highlight an inventor that IV works with. Many of the patents that we acquire come from individual inventors and inventive companies who decide they want to monetize their portfolios for one reason or another. Often, they want to have the financial freedom to continue following their passion for inventing. Last week, we discussed the example of a company called FSMLabs. As their CEO Victor Yodaiken told the Securities Technology Monitor, “For us, this is simply a way to monetize our research investment and accelerate our business.”

Whether we’re interacting with individuals who invent in their spare time or with inventive companies, we evaluate each patent to ensure that it aligns well with our broader licensing goals. If it does, we purchase the patent and invest in its maintenance, freeing up the inventor to continue doing what they do best – solving problems and developing new ideas.

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Why IV Takes a Global Stance on Innovation

As many in the technology and economics sectors have noted, innovation in Asia is on a major upswing. The first time I heard the phrase “The Asian Century” was in 1992 at AT&T Bell Laboratories. At the time, American companies were making plans to address long-term opportunities in Asia. They felt that Asia would have the largest and fastest-growing markets, and thus the 21st century would be “The Asian Century.”

Now, in early 2011, the news is full of reports on patent filings from inventors in Asian countries and it’s clear that The Asian Century has arrived, though perhaps the phrase “Global Century” would be more accurate. There’s a fascinating discussion going on now about global innovation. Scott Anthony, managing director of Innosight Ventures, has written a few blog posts for the Harvard Business Review about his personal experiences with innovation in Asia after moving to Singapore.  He brings up excellent points and I agree with his observations and recommendations.

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New Pathways to Commercialization for University Inventions

IV is based just outside of Seattle, Washington and has a lot of experience working with American companies, universities, and inventors. But something that is perhaps less known about IV is that we are also an international company. We have a network of offices and fantastic staff working with inventors, universities, and inventive companies in nine countries around the world.  Most recently, the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada entered into an agreement with us to work together on the development and commercialization of new inventions.

We are excited that a renowned university such as UBC has joined our invention development program. One of the things we will do with UBC will be to provide them access to special documents we make called Requests For Invention that identify important problems we think need more solutions. The university gets a new view into the marketplace through the suggestions we provide them as well as access to additional pathways for commercialization of university inventions. Working with IV simply offers another resource that supplements all the great work that the university technology transfer office already does. Providing university inventors with additional access to a marketplace for their ideas and inventions can be both a new source of revenue and can improve the chances that we all benefit from the top-notch thinking going on at the world’s best universities. You can read more about IV’s goal of creating an industry dedicated to financing inventors and monetizing their creations in an article authored by Intellectual Ventures CEO, Nathan Myhrvold, in Harvard Business Review.

We can’t wait to see the inventions that UBC comes up with and start sharing them with the world.

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Working with Inventors

At IV we work with inventors and inventive companies in a variety of ways, including buying IP assets from them. Many times we buy valuable assets when a company believes that a reputable and experienced IP company like IV will be best suited to monetize them. The cash infusion from selling us those assets allows those companies to continue developing and marketing their core products.

FSMLabs is one such company who recently sold us some of its virtualization, security and fault tolerance patents. FSMLabs, which provides its customers with real-time and timekeeping technology, sold us part of their patent portfolio because it allows them to apply the capital toward continuing to execute on their business and do further research. 

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IV Welcomes David Kris as General Counsel

We have new talent joining the ranks. IV President and COO Adriane Brown told us earlier today that David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, will be joining the IV team as General Counsel. Here’s an excerpt from Adriane’s email to the company:

David brings nearly twenty years of legal experience both in government roles and in the private sector. He has expertise in assessing legal risk while also taking into account operational efficiency.  In between positions at the US Department of Justice, David served as Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Time Warner where he developed an enterprise-wide ethics and compliance program for offices in more than 50 countries and provided counsel to executives regarding corporate legal risk and compliance.

With David’s experience, intellect and engaging personality, I’m certain he will effectively step into the role of General Counsel and lead our well-established legal department. David is well known for his ability to assess a situation from all angles and make decisions that bridge the gap between theory and practice. He is a strong leader, a bright lawyer and a great addition to the company.

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