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Jessica Chesher

Managing Editor

Innovation eReview

December 2009 Edition

In This Issue:

Welcome Message

Welcome to the December 2009 edition of the Innovation e-Review newsletter.

This month’s feature, “The Impact of Patents on Smart Grid Objectives”, by Jeffrey E. Young, partner at Alston & Bird, LLP, describes the challenges that patent rights will pose as the nation seeks to revise its electrical infrastructure and create new technical and business standards for the implementation of a smart grid.

This issue also highlights Ener-G-Rotors, Inc., a Schenectady, NY-based startup that manufactures, sells and services devices that generate electricity from low-temperature waste heat. To help their customers lower energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint, Ener-G-Rotors has created several full systems that are easy to install, operate and maintain as well as modular enough to fit almost anywhere.

Finally, this issue spotlights the research of the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, a Research and Development hub that focuses on revolutionary advancements in Internet, wireless, cyber-security, and multimedia communications.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments. Please feel free to contact us at nysstlc@law.syr.edu. Thank you.

Feature Article: The Impact of Patents on Smart Grid Objectives

by Jeffrey E. Young

Originally printed in the Smart Grid Newsletter at www.smartgridnews.com

Following the federal government’s lead under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to create a national Smart Grid, a host of players will come together to seek the common good. Some will assume that private patent rights will not impact this effort, or that patents will be swept aside or deactivated. In fact, patent rights will create challenges to overcome before the Smart Grid becomes a reality.

Light at the End of the Tunnel. Participants no doubt will succeed in balancing the important function of patents in stimulating needed innovation against the need for nondiscriminatory access to technologies, as their predecessors have in many previous efforts to create technical and business standards. This article makes the case for a broad understanding of “open standards” as including technologies open to all via royalty-bearing reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) licensing. More...


Intellectual Property News: Bilski v. Kappos: Supreme Court Hearing Overview

by Amy Kim

On November 9th, in a case that is being closely monitored by software and bioscience companies, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the patent law issue on whether processes and methods of doing business should be eligible for patents like those granted to physical devices. The methods under consideration include software programs, medical procedures, financial transactions and other intangible inventions; and the difficulty exists in the drawing of a fine line between “abstract processes” and “concrete applications”. More...

Intellectual Property News: GIPC Offers Advice to Developing World

by Erin Lawless

On November 11, in an effort to promote intellectual property as a necessary element of advancing technology in the developing world, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) issued a report detailing various methods of technology diffusion and aiming to systematically disprove the common misconception that IP is a barrier to technology diffusion.  More...

Company Spotlight: Ener-G-Rotors, Inc.

by Eric Berlin

Based in Schenectady, NY, Ener-G-Rotors, Inc. manufactures, sells and services devices that generate electricity from low-temperature waste heat. In a time when renewable resources are being urgently sought as alternatives to fossil fuels, Ener-G-Rotors has created its own niche in the industrial waste heat market by offering cost-effective solutions that convert low-temperature heat (i.e., 150-400°F) into electricity at the 5kW-to-50kW size range. This extra electricity is then returned to the customer’s grid. Surprisingly, 15 to 20 percent of all energy used in the United States is lost to low-grade waste heat. So, in order to utilize this untapped resource, Ener-G-Rotors creates full systems that are modular enough to fit almost anywhere. Also, they are easy to install, operate and maintain. More...

Industry News: Nokia Accuses Apple of Infringement

by John Amandolare

In late October, Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple in Delaware’s Federal District Court, alleging that Apple’s iPhone uses technology protected by Nokia. Specifically, the suit challenges Apple’s use of ten patents owned by Nokia related to wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption.  Many are describing Nokia’s suit as a strategic response to Apple’s refusal to license the core technologies that were developed through the organized effort of global telecommunications companies that included Samsung and Sony Ericsson. More...

Industry News: Microsoft Violates IP Rights in China

by Amy Kim

In a recent decision by Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, Microsoft was found to have violated a Chinese company’s intellectual property rights by using particular Chinese fonts in prior Microsoft operating systems. The court has ordered Microsoft to cease selling Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 in China. Microsoft, however, has announced an intention to appeal.  More...

Research Spotlight: NYU’s Polytechnic Institute Leads Telecom Research

by John Amandolare

The Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University is a Research and Development hub focused on advancements in Internet, wireless, cyber-security, and multimedia communications. Now in operation for over 25 years, CATT draws on annual funding from the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and has been successful in programs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). CATT has also collaborated with state and city agencies to create incubator programs in New York City specifically aimed at developments in Clean and Renewable Energy and next-generation technologies.  More...

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