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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

China imposes $975 million fine against Qualcomm and caps royalty rates at 3.5 percent (4G) and 5 percent (3G).

As per reports, China's National Development and Reform Commission ("NDRC") published its decision in theQualcomm case, which resulted in a $975 million fine against Qualcomm for alleged violations of the Anti-Monopoly Law. The decision provides useful guidance with respect to the NDRC's views regarding several intellectual property licensing practices involving standard-essential patents ("SEPs").

Qualcomm charged excessive royalties
  • First, Qualcomm engaged in portfolio licensing that included expired patents in the portfolio. In doing so, Qualcomm did not provide licensees with lists of patents covered by the licenses, and did not demonstrate that newly added patents were of the same value as patents that were expiring. Even if that were true, the NDRC said that it was unreasonable not to provide licensees with a list of patents when Qualcomm offered long-term or even non-fixed term licenses. 
  • Second, Qualcomm required some licensees to provide royalty-free grantback licenses for relevant wireless communications patents that are not SEPs. The NDRC determined that this practice is not reasonable, and that Qualcomm should take into account the value of grantback licenses when negotiating licensing terms. Third, Qualcomm required licensees to pay royalties based on the price of the finished product, which the NDRC concluded misappropriated value based on unpatented components.  
  • Finally, Qualcomm included in its license portfolio non-SEPs that some licensees did not want to license. The NDRC also noted that the practice of requiring royalty-free grantbacks could discourage licensees from technical innovation and have the effect of restricting or eliminating market competition.

Qualcomm unreasonably bundled the sale of non-SEPs with SEPs as a package at a constant licensing rate
The NDRC rejected Qualcomm's three reasons for bundling non-SEPs with SEPs: 
(1) it offered to license SEPs separately but licensees prefer the package of non-SEPs and SEPs; 
(2) it is difficult to differentiate non-SEPs from SEPs so licensees are at risk if they license only SEPs; and 
(3) bundling non-SEPs with SEPs does not restrict competition and licensees are free to license a competing technology. 
The NDRC did not accept these explanations, finding that some licensees were not offered a license to SEPs only; non-SEPs and SEPs can be differentiated on a patent list; and bundling non-SEPs with SEPs restricted competition in the market for non-SEPs, hampered innovation, and harmed consumers.
Qualcomm imposed a "no-challenge" requirement on the sale of baseband chips
The NDRC objected to Qualcomm's practice of requiring purchasers of base band chips to enter into an agreement that provided that the purchaser would not challenge the license agreement. It found that given the nature of the issues it identified in Qualcomm's license agreements, it was improper for Qualcomm to require licensees to waive their right to challenge the agreements.
The NDRC's decision orders Qualcomm to cease engaging in the identified practices:  (1) Qualcomm must provide patent lists, and it cannot require royalties for expired patents; (2) it cannot require grant backs without consideration; 
(3) it must cap royalty rates at 3.5 percent (4G) and 5 percent (3G), and apply those royalty rates to modified royalty base representing 65 percent of the net sales price of the overall terminal unit; 
(4) it cannot bundle non-SEPs without reasonable cause; 
(5) it cannot require acceptance of royalties for expired patents, grantbacks without consideration, bundling non-SEPs without reasonable cause, or "no-challenge" clauses as conditions for supplying base band chips. 
In addition, the NDRC imposed a fine equal to 8% of Qualcomm's revenue within China for 2013, which was 76.102 billion yuan, resulting in a fine of 6.088 billion yuan (US$975 million).
The NDRC's decision is available here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

INDIANXT 2015, Gurgaon, 4-5th June 2015

IndiaNXT 2015 is an interactive-twin-workshop using megatrends to map the 'next big thing' from and in India. Megatrends are the emergent changes in the society that are going to affect everything and everyone. These are the paradigm shifts happening at the intersection of cultural, social, economic, political, technological, regulatory and market forces. Megatrends understanding can help all sectors of consumer facing organizations in preparing a scenario and a co-created vision for future.

IX International Warsaw Invention Show ,12 – 14 October 2015 Main Building of Warsaw University of Technology.

Association of Polish Inventors and Rationalizers  invite Indian Innovators to participate in IWIS 2015 to showcase their inventions and solutions. IWIS 2015 has support from the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski and also from the International Federation of Inventors' Associations IFIA and the Association of European Inventors AEI.

Indian Innovators Association, member of IFIA is offered exhibition space of 4 sq.mts and will be offered to young Indian Innovators. 
Director of the API&R Office
Agnieszka Mikołajska
Biuro KR SPWiR Stowarzyszenie Polskich Wynalazców i Racjonalizatorów ul. Sternicza 46 01-350 Warszawa tel: +48 22 633 84 82

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Innovate for Digital India contest

The Intel & DST - Innovate for Digital India Challenge seeks breakthrough solutions that provide easy, effective technology in the hands of every citizen to help them enhance the quality of their lives.
Challenge Themes:
  • Innovation to create citizen’s device platform with features that are relevant and drive mass adoption of technology such as biometric sensing capabilities, peripherals using other sensors, intuitive user interface, gesture recognition, and multi-lingual & voice support.
  • Innovation to create apps that accelerate delivery of e-governance services through eKranti/MyGov apps on mobile platform.
  • Start-ups or business entities entering the Challenge must have been formed in and in accordance with the laws of India
  • Applicants (majority shareholders) are required to be Indian resident nationals
  • While individuals can apply to this Challenge, top three teams to be considered for equity investment must have a private limited company in accordance with laws of India, by 31st October 2015
  • Participants are required to be at least 18 years of age on 1st of June, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

grex- connecting private investors with unlisted companies

GREX connects investors with startups and is in now alpha stage. In addition to investors and companies, the platform has a category called Sponsors, defined as 
A sponsor is a legal entity (company or LLP) that handholds the companies to make them capital ready. Sponsors are grass root players, having helped companies raise capital. They also bring deep financial knowledge along with other statutory capabilities. 
The companies seeking funds need to register with a sponsor.

Startup Village 1000 days impact report

Startup village delivered more than it promised -

  • Surpassed target of 48 incubated startups in 5 years with 533 active startups in 1000 days. 
  • Raised private capital / angel investment of Rs 27 crores.
  • The startups (all together) are valued at Rs 292 crores and most of them at MVP stage. 
  • Created about 3000 jobs
  • Many of the student startups did not takeoff, the primary reason is that the students got (better) jobs. Entrepreneurship  adds value to the CV.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Cluster Observatory-India

Cluster Observatory developed by FMC (Foundation for MSME Clusters)  is a compendium of cluster resources for undertaking cluster intitiatives. It covers profiles of 1194 industrial clusters, 3094 handcraft clusters, 568 hand loom clusters and 154 Micro-enterprise clusters.


AP Biotechnology Policy 2015: incubators and incentives for research

The policy envisages establishment of incubation centres at:
a. Mega Life Sciences Park in Vizag
b. JNTU in Kakinada
c. Sri Venketeswara Veterinary University in Tirupati
d. Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences in Vijayawada

These will be established in PPP mode. More interesting are fiscal incentives for R&D.
In order to promote innovation and applied R&D in the research & academic institutions, the Government of Andhra Pradesh proposes to offer special incentives for organizations engaged in applied research and development activities encompassing the following:
i. Co-financing of industry sponsored research: GoAP proposes a matching contribution of up to25 lakhs for biotech related projects of public importance where an equal amount has been funded by private/public sector companies. The research outcomes will be reviewed by APBC.
ii. Collaborative Research Grant: The scheme aims at accelerating collaborative research for market driven product development between scientists from at least three A.P based research institutions and/or academic institutions. Government proposes to offer financial assistance up to25 lakh per project per annum towards covering scientist and technician cost. This will be approved on case to case basis by the APBC
constituted by the Government.
iii. Attracting Global Talent: To attract global talent for conducting breakthrough research
in the State, the Government proposes “Yellapragada Subbarao Life Sciences Scholarship”. The objective is to incentivize joint research programs of A.P based institutions with researchers pursuing post-doctoral India specific life sciences research in top 100 global institutes/universities. Government shall provide financial support not exceeding 5 lakh for a period of 6 months limited to 10 researchers per annum. The scheme will also be applicable to Scientists interested in sabbatical research work. The program and engagement of the researchers shall be approved by APBC.
iv. Patent Registration: GoAP proposes to provide financial assistance towards expenses
incurred for patent registration. The financial assistance will be limited to 75% of the cost subject to a maximum of􀀀25 lakh. This assistance will be given only to those projects that are approved by APBC.

Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) policy

Government has broken down the incentives program into several divisions for both battery operated and/or hybrid models. Here are the details:
  • Rs 1800 to Rs 29,000 for Two Wheelers
  • Rs 3300 to Rs 61,000 for Three Wheelers
  • Rs 1.3 Rs 1.38 Lakh for Four Wheelers
  • Rs 17,000 to Rs 1.87 Lakh for Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV)
  • Rs 34 Lakh to Rs 66 Lakh for Buses
In order to be transparent, Minister Geete also provided a details breakdown of the usage of Rs 795 crore budget which will be spent in the next 2 years:

Components of the scheme 2015-16 2016-17
Technology Platform(Including testing infrastructure) Rs 70 cr. Rs 120 cr.
Demand Incentives Rs 155 cr. Rs 340 cr.
Charging Infrastructure Rs 10 cr. Rs 20 cr.
Pilot Projects Rs 20 cr. Rs 50 cr.
IEC/Operations Rs 5 cr. Rs 5 cr.
Total (Rs.) Rs 260 cr. Rs 535 cr.
Grand Total (Rs.) Rs 795 cr.

On Technology Platform the Minister said one of the prime focus area under the scheme is to develop indigenous technology and R&D capability to develop and manufacture the entire range of electric components and sub-systems necessary for hybrid and electric vehicles. He said the Technology Advisory Group on Electric Mobility (TAG-EM) under the Co-chairmanship of Shri Ambuj Sharma, Additional Secretary, DHI and Prof. Jhunjhunwala of IIT Madras with senior members from the DST, Industry and Academia has been set up which is steering various initiatives in this field. 

The minister said Four Sub-Groups have been set up on vehicle system integration, motors and controllers and power electronics; batteries and battery management system and charging infrastructure.  In each of these areas centres of excellence (COE) are being set up to provide the required thrust and short-term, outcome oriented results.

He said a number of R&D projects have already been initiated by DHI, for example - development of off-line and real-time simulators for Xevs systems, design development for light weight vehicles, technology for solid state lithium ion battery and COE for motors etc.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

AP government offers commercial orders (post-project) to innovators

India Innovators often complain that for all their efforts, they often get awards but no rewards. Public procurement still has no place for commercial products/ solutions developed by Indian innovators. AP Govt now offers start-ups the lifeline in the form of preferential market access, valued upto Rs 50 crores annually. As per the policy:
Eligibility: (Any Startup/ MSME/Enthusiastic First Generation Technocrats/ Entrepreneurs from Andhra Pradesh, with an annual turnover between Rs 50 lakhs and Rs.25 cr, in Electronics and IT sectors can apply with suo moto proposals.
subjects/themes:  Identity and Access Management, e-Service Delivery, Cloud services, Knowledge Management, Software Defined Networks, Social Benefits Management Systems, Project Portfolio Management, Location Based services, Disaster Management, GIS-based applications in the areas of Urban Development, Agriculture & Rural Development, Water Resources Management, Mines & Minerals, Forest & Environment, Disaster Management, Tourism Development, Development of GIS Databases & Layers, Traffic Management, Management of Utilisation of various assets through the use of GIS, Government/ Community lands Management (Section D6 of the Blueprint) , Localization Products and Tools namely, content development in Telugu and thereby bridging the digital divide, development of language technologies for text to speech and speech to text, voice recognition, machine translation, voice web, to enable language independent delivery of services. (Section D3 of the Blueprint), Use of Social Media by Government agencies in lines with the Framework and Guidelines by GoI.(Page 37 of the Blueprint).

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Patents of Procter & Gamble

P&G is in news with Indian Patent office rejecting its patent for Smart Napkin, for lack of inventive step.
P&G had claimed that the napkin indicates — through colour changes — whether the user needs to reposition or replace it after a certain time has elapsed, and if the genital area needs to be refreshed to prevent germ growth.According to P&G, the napkin provides an absorbent article that changes colour in response to external stimuli to give relevant indications to the user. The FMCG major argued that the invention involves the use of piezochromic, photochromic or thermochromatic materials and was different from the features available in the marketplace.
“Based on the above facts and on the circumstances of the case, the objections with respect to inventive step under Section 2(1)(j)(a), sufficiency of disclosure and the objection under Section 3(d) raised are still not met and maintained. Therefore, it is hereby ordered that the invention disclosed and claimed in the application titled ‘absorbent article for feminine hygiene’ has been refused to proceed further,” the assistant controller said.
More about P&G patents on IP Watchdog.

AP Industrial Policy: patent reimbursement and technology acquisition

The new industrial policy has interesting provisions with regard to patent reimbursement and technology acquisition.
 Technology acquisition fund of USD 1.6 Million to be set up. Additional interest subsidy @ 3% per annum on term loans towards purchase of capital equipment necessary for technology upgradation for a period of 5 years, subject to maximum of USD 4800 per year to MSME units
• Financial Assistance towards expenses incurred for patent registration limited to 75% of the cost, subject to maximum of USD 40,000/-
• Promotion of innovation and applied R&D in research and academic institutions to be done by co-financing industry sponsored research, collaborative research grant and scholarships.

Automobile/ Auto components

  • 75% reimbursement of the Patent Cost, subject to a maximum of USD 40,000 and 50% of all charges, subject to a maximum of USD 8000 for obtaining patent registration