Google Glasses and the Future of Patents
27 September 2013 by Tony Fisher
During the evolution of the search engine giant’s new technology it was announced that Google purchased a wearable technology patent from Taiwan based company Hon Hai. This not only indicates that Google intends to secure a leading position in the wearable technology market but it highlights just what is patentable.
The rationale of the patent system is to encourage& inventors to publish details of inventions and information as to how they are put into effect by providing inventors with a limited monopoly over their new product. After this period of protection (which is 20 years) the patent expires and the inventions are available for the public to use freely. The need for publication in the case of patents can be contrasted with the need to prevent the publication of confidential information, such as ‘trade secrets’.
Transactions involving technology transfer often involve, in addition to patents of products, non-patented know-how relating to the detailed implementation of the inventions. Technology transfer agreements must therefore ensure that the know-how is contractually linked with the related patents so as to provide the product and the know-how together in a package. In
addition to technology transfer agreements inventors/developers are also able to use licenses to ensure that know-how is managed and maintained securely.
Moving forward, the world of patents is set for change. China’s emerging patent system is growing rapidly. There were 51,906 applications in 2000 but then 391,177 in 2010. It has been suggested that this is in order to show that while the Chinese are skilled in copying branded items it is still safe for companies to outsource their manufacturing there as they recognise the importance of protecting new products. In addition there are suggestions in the US that standardising and speeding up the process of patents would be better for investors in smaller companies.
If you have any questions about getting or defending a patent give our Commercial team a call on 01206 835230.