It’s been a big year in the world of patents. The dynamics of the smartphone industry have taken news stories of patents from the back of the business section to the front page. And just last month President Obama signed into law the America Invents Act, enacting the most sweeping changes to U.S. patent law in more than half a century.

2011 has also been a busy year at IV. In the last year we’ve worked with forward-thinking mobile phone companies like SamsungHTC and RIM, and more recently Korean handset manufacturer Pantech, to provide them the IP protection they need to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market. In fact, our customers and collaborators this year have touched nearly all sectors of the technology industry – business management software (SAP), semiconductors (Micron), consumer electronics manufacturing (Wistron) – the list goes on.

But not all of our customers are the blue-chips. In the last year we’ve also helped internet protocol address management startup BlueCat Networks defend itself from litigation through our IP-for-Defense program. And another IP-for-Defense customer, Seattle-based Dashwire, successfully reached a settlement with one of its competitors and was later acquired by HTC, another IV customer.

Our customers are as diverse as our portfolio, which spans industries like agriculture, energy, medical devices and nanotechnology. And just today we announced a license agreement with American Express, adding financial services to that growing list.

Whether the industry is smartphones, software or financial services, it’s clear that IP rights are a crucial piece of business capital – now more than ever.

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