Innovating in a world of patent lawsuits — Elaine Chen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Elaine Chen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Elaine Chen

From TechCrunch

This fall, Apple once again won the dubious honor of dominating the conversation on patent infringement.

First, it lost a ruling in Germany’s top civil court over the slide-to-unlock feature, backing an earlier ruling in favor of Motorola Mobility. As expected, Apple is appealing the ruling.

Then, it scored a victory when it won a patent ruling against Samsung in the U.S. appeals court over the same feature, plus two others (autocorrect and data detection). As expected, Samsung is appealing the ruling.

Then, it took a hit when a federal jury decided that Apple infringed on a 1998 University of Wisconsin-Madison patent covering performance-improving processing technology. As expected, Apple is appealing the ruling.

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How to tell what patents are worth — Joseph Hadzima

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Joseph Hadzima

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Joseph Hadzima

From Forbes

This is a lucrative time for intellectual property. Earlier this year, Kodak, the bankrupt company that invented the digital camera, sold its portfolio of 1,100 digital photography-related patents to a dozen licensees, including Apple, Microsoft and Google for $525 million. Last spring, Google bought Motorola Mobility with its 17,000 patents, for $12.5 billion, to protect its Android mobile operating systems from rivals. Also last year, Microsoft acquired 800 patents from AOL for more than $1 billion, only to turn around and sell 70% of them to Facebook for $550 million in cash. Read More »

Time for Real Gun Control, Not Just Window Dressing — Christopher Knittel

MIT Sloan Prof. Christopher Knittel

From the Huffington Post

I have been a hunter and gun owner throughout my life; prior to moving to Massachusetts two years ago, I owned three guns, a shotgun, a rifle, and a semi-automatic 9mm pistol. I enjoy hunting and target shooting and believe there are legitimate uses for guns.

I am also an applied economics professor in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose research focuses on the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of policy. I have therefore followed the discussion of gun control with interest.

The United States has a long history of regulating firearms. Normal citizens cannot bear nuclear arms, they can’t bear rocket launchers, tanks, or a long list of other arms. There are also severe restrictions on owning fully-automatic guns. These restrictions effectively make them illegal for most of us. Given this history, policymakers should focus on how best to balance the enjoyment citizens get from owning and operating certain types of guns with the obvious real danger such weapons present.

Christopher Knittel is a Professor of applied economics, MIT Sloan School of Management