GGI RapidNews R&D Product Development eZine: Volume
2, Issue 6 - July 30, 2001
R&D SURVEY RESULTS
2000 Metrics Survey: Free downloadable copies of the 2000 R&D Metrics Survey Description and/or Survey Questionnaire are available in our Market Research Reading Room at http://www.goldensegroupinc.com/readmarket.shtml. You will also find free downloadable files for GGI's 1998 Product Development Metrics Survey. The 1998 and some 2000 Metrics Survey results are now available for purchase at http://www.goldensegroupinc.com/cgi/catalog.cgi?display_p355.
GGI's 2000 R&D Metrics Survey was quantitative and targeted at advanced R&D practitioners. Many companies did not participate because their metric processes were not mature enough to generate the information sought by the survey questionnaire. As a result, one could say that the survey's respondents constituted a "self-selected sample" of advanced R&D practitioners.
In addition, 55% of respondent companies have sales revenues less than $250 million and less than 1000 employees. 90% of respondent companies sell, develop and manufacture in North America. Two-thirds also sell globally. One-third of respondent companies develop and/or manufacture globally. 90% of respondents were from corporate or R&D management.
Our next R&D Metrics Survey will be conducted early in 2002. If you would like to participate at that time, please send me an e-mail indicating your interest.
That survey seems to reflect what has been happening in recent US Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) decisions. In the March/April issue of MIT's Technology Review, Seth Shulman, author of Owning The Future, suggests: "..., the PTO may be granting ...software patents in error, simply because it can't keep current with advances in the field." The issue raised is that through a proliferation of PTO-granted patents for e-commerce business processes; processes enabled by software, some entrepreneurs have exclusive use of certain business processes; a competitive business dynamic not conceivable in the non-digital world.
Patents are supposed to be granted for "novel," "useful" and "non-obvious" inventions, which would be recognized as such by an expert in that field. The PTO is receiving more than 2,500 annual applications for "business method software" patents. The PTO apparently views many of those software patent applications as "actual, describable, discrete inventions" that meet the above criteria. Patents are granted for 20 years, and are renewable.
Shulman cites a number of broad e-commerce business process patents and their allegedly adverse impacts to web businesses:
In contrast, other observers of patenting in the digital marketplace have argued that e-commerce patents represent a logical extension of the patent system. A 1998 U.S. Appeals Court decision between Signature Financial Group and State Street Bank seems to confirm that perspective. Signature held a patent on an accounting system called "hub and spoke," used by many banks around the world. State Street argued that mathematical alogorithms and business methods were not patentable. The high court disagreed, solidly supporting Signature's patent claims.
Some observers believe that the PTO simply cannot keep pace with the onslaught of pending software patent applications, and that they expedite application processing by cursory reviews of "prior art." No invention can be patented, which has already been patented, or which has been published prior to the time of patent application. That earlier patent or publication is called prior art. The issue is the often difficult and time-consuming process of "discovery" for prior art with any patent application. Software programming has the reputation of being particularly deficient in having a clearly published "paper trail" especially for software coding developed at the onset of the Internet.
However, there is some basis for optimism about the prospective number of IP lawsuits likely to be carried through to final court judgement. While there has been a significant increase in the numbers of IP lawsuits filed, many have never been adjudicated so that final court judgements have remained at about the same levels. With millions of dollars of e-commerce sales at stake, why are there not more court judgements? The American Intellectual Property Law Association places the cost for a typical IP adjudication at $1.2 million for even the simplest suits. Such cost disincentives make more attractive alternative payment of patent-holder royalties or of cross-licensing agreements, especially if the patent's viability is a legally defensible concern.
See http://www.techreview.com/magazine/past_issues.asp for additional information.
Attendance is limited to 30 people to enable maximum participation and interaction with the speakers, SmartOrg staff and their peers from other organizations. Topics will be positioned toward the interests of management who make strategic decisions (i.e., important decisions that impact the success of the organization). Conference themes are:
Click here for
further details: http://www.smartorg.com/Vancouver/Conference.htm
The two-day conference will focus on how to assess the value of new products and the impact of R&D investments on corporate profitability. What are the latest metrics to link R&D and technology to a company's financial performance? Fostering company growth and profitability has become more critical to the engineering and non-engineering communities as a result of recent economic trends.
For more information go to: http://www.roundtable.com/Event_Center/MET01/Metrics01-brochure.pdf and visit GGI's Calendar at: http://www.goldensegroupinc.com/gateway/metricsconf.shtml.
Supported by the Society of Concurrent Product Development (SCPD), this conference is the only event we are aware of that is focused on utilizing the best available digital technologies to streamline product development life cycles in order to reduce cost and times-to-market. Increased customer demands for specialized and intricate products have forced companies to adopt new web-enabled technologies to augment their potential for speed and collaboration. Organizations must now be able to integrate key e-business technologies, especially in product design and development, to achieve a more effective and efficient manufacturing environment.
RapidNews is an e-mail publication from Goldense Group, Inc (GGI). Its subject matter includes survey findings, company news, book reviews, key industry conferences and R&D information of interest to clients and associates. Please send communications to rn(at)goldensegroupinc.com. Thank you.