Happy World IP Day!

April 26: significant for you? Perhaps it’s your birthday? If not, I bet you’re a patent lawyer, or someone who works with patent lawyers. For April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day! Accordingly, yesterday I congratulated all those connected with this tricky profession, and wished them every success within it.

Actually, not all those connected with this profession. Not patent trolls, and not legal white-collar ‘consumer champions’. I wish them… you can imagine.

But back to the positive…

Hearty congratulations to all the KLers in our IP protection department (that’s dozens of headstrong specialists with unique expertise, led by the uniquely headstrong N.K). Hip, hip hooray!

So, on this special occasion, we decided to do a mini-retrospective – to look back over how our IP department developed, and to then look to the future to forecast how it’s going to further develop.

Quick digression…

Looking back occasionally – not forever forward – is a very worthwhile thing to do. We can neglect doing so out of habit; always working, improving, and constantly with a decidedly future-orientation. And as we do, we often think that, though we’re toiling away like troopers, the results are meager. But often it only seems that way because we don’t stop and look back on the progress we’ve made based on how things were in the past. So stop! Look back in awe at your achievements, go over mistakes made and learn from them, fill yourself with good vibes, and banish any thoughts of futility of work. Then get back to work!…

So here we go with a look back over our IP department’s past achievements. And straight off the bat – just one look at the following graph, for example, will banish all futile thoughts before you can say inventive step and non-obviousness:

In the 13 years since its inception in 2005, the following is what we’ve achieved:

  • 709… oops, no – already 710 patents across six countries, with 379 patents pending. As you’ll probably be able to guess, most of those are in Russia (275), the USA (273) and the EU (89).
  • Winning five court cases against, and settling out of court in our favor around two dozen claims against us brought by patent trolls.
  • But what’s the most oh-my-groundbreaking out of all those figures is how we lost, in total, in all our years fighting patent trolls, a whopping… zero court cases! As mentioned, many of the claims against us were torpedoed out of court as those bringing them realized they were sooo gonna lose. Every time we successfully defended ourselves based on the truth – our total lack of guilt regarding any claim brought against us – and our fluency in getting that fact across. Losing not one case: that’s unique anywhere in the world in the field of battling trolls. Losing not one case in the USA, too: still unique, but with other typically trolled defendants coming nowhere near such a result.
  • We help other IT companies fight off patent troll attacks. Following our example, they’ve started to stick up for themselves – and it’s working! And as more do choose to defend themselves, the whole idea of trolls having easy pickings – by picking on genuine innovator-contributors – becomes much less attractive as time goes by.
  • We never leave our partners (especially technological ones) out in the cold. If a patent troll coming at us decides to file a claim against one of our partners in parallel, we take responsibility for the whole of the defense.
  • After years successfully defending ourselves from patent trolls, we’ve moved from a defensive stance to a proactive one: we file counter-claims, invalidate ‘rotten’ patents, and expose the trolls for what they really are: con artists.
  • We successfully counter various manifestations of unscrupulous competition. We’ve had to defend ourselves in scores of such cases. It goes without saying, no unscrupulous competition from our side too (our business is trust-based; how can you be trusted when you play unfairly with your competitors?).

So as you can see, with a history of successes like our IP department has, looking back over it is very healthy. Especially when those successes were in uncharted waters.

The skeptic might say it’s a waste of time: modern-day Goliaths won’t be overcome by modern-day Davids: it’s much simpler and cheaper to simply pay off the trolls, avoid court (and stress), and spend your time and money doing more productive things. I couldn’t disagree more. Strategically that’s a road to nowhere. So we fight, and keep fighting – until the last bullet: theirs! Go David!

And another thing that inspires us is how there’s no end of work. The work’s interesting, useful, and courageously soldierly: stuff we identify with in our field – cybersecurity.

PS: We’ve just arrived at a verrrrry curiously interesting… crossroads with the large patent troll Uniloc. And it’s only going to get a lot more curiously interesting – so stay tuned!…

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