Last year, InQuartik allied with ClearstoneIP by integrating InQuartik’s Quality Insights with the Clearstone FTO platform. Further integration of InQuartik’s Patent Vault with Clearstone FTO in January this year (2021) strengthened the partnership.
Looking back at 2020 and forward towards 2021, we asked Gabe Sukman — CEO of ClearstoneIP Inc. — to share his expert insights and perspectives.
How do you conclude the year 2020 on patent filings, litigation, or the FTO market?
“The past year has been difficult on many accounts, but many businesses toughed it out and are stronger now as a result. Certain areas like medical devices, biotech, consumer electronics, and telecommunications flourished while others saw the market for their core products crater. As patent infringement lawsuits increased by more than 10% over 2019 and the willful infringement doctrine continued to gain clarity, innovators in all industries have understandably taken a conservative approach and have invested in freedom-to-operate investigations across their product lines. ClearstoneIP’s patent clearance management platform, Clearstone FTO, has seen usage double, triple, and quadruple over the course of 2020.”
What long-term impact will COVID-19 have on innovation and IP strategy in 2021?
“Markets in all industries will of course feel a lasting impact as a result of the pandemic. While some businesses and departments will return to offices, there is no question that a large portion of remote work is here to stay, either as a permanent fixture or a hybrid model for most employees. Technology hubs like the San Francisco Bay Area and New York are already seeing widespread dispersion of their work forces to more affordable areas. By many accounts, remote work has been shown to result in higher productivity and employee satisfaction. What this means for innovation and IP is that legacy workflow systems and processes have been proven to be unmanageable. Institutional knowledge needs to be digitized and accessible, collaboration needs to happen in real-time, and workflows should result in structured data that can be leveraged over time and across functions. Ultimately, the Legal and R&D departments need to find ways to better integrate with each other to both protect ideas and mitigate risk.”
What are the top patent topics for 2021 that should be closely monitored?
“More generally, I think 2021 will be an interesting year to keep an eye on various patent topics such as the patentability and rise of AI and ML, how the IP community will respond to the pandemic, the continuing volatility of IPR practice, etc. One of my biggest concerns, however, continues to be the significant trouble caused by a 7-year old named Alice that is in desperate need of resolution. The nonsensical nature of the Supreme Court’s decision, inconsistent application across Federal Circuit panels, and widely diverging views between the courts and the USPTO have made the threshold patentability question of eligibility one of the most problematic areas of jurisprudence I have seen in my 20 years in patents. If nothing else, I hope that 2021 sees legislation that will finally put an end to the eligibility quagmire.”
ClearstoneIP helps innovators accelerate patent clearance and product development with a centralized freedom-to-operate workflow management platform that builds leverageable institutional knowledge. Clearstone FTO is infused with industry best practices, enabling in-house legal and technical teams to collaborate with each other as well as outside counsel in a context-aware environment built specifically for managing the FTO process.