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科技公司该不该捍卫知识产权
2017-06-27 11:19    来源:未知    作者:中国同传口译网

 

科技公司该不该捍卫知识产权 Lex_Technology intellectual property: patently obvious 英国《金融时报》 Lex专栏   Not every Silicon Valley company with rich intellectual property bothers to defend it. Altruistic, perhaps, but it is also a recipe for an activist attack. Unprotected IP is money on the table.  并非每家拥有丰富的知识产权的硅谷公司都会费神去捍卫它。大公无私?或许吧。但这么做也会招来维权股东的攻击。不受保护的知识产权就像摆在桌面上的钱。   Qualcomm, the mobile chipmaker, faced activist questions last year. Jana Partners argued that the company should consider spinning off its higher-margin licensing division. But the Jana idea, which was ultimately rejected, only came about because Qualcomm is already assertive, supplying the fruits of its research and development to other companies, and demanding fat royalties in return. Oracle, which last week lost a court battle with Google, also took an aggressive tack, accusing the search giant of violating its copyright to develop the Android operating system. Oracle’s defeat was applauded by software geeks prizing openness. But Oracle’s shareholders could have been $9bn better off.  移动芯片制造商高通(Qualcomm)去年就面临了维权股东的质询。大股东Jana Partners认为高通应考虑剥离其利润率较高的专利授权业务部门。但Jana提出这个主张(最终被否决了)只是因为高通已经相当咄咄逼人:向其他公司提供自己的研发成果,收取高额专利费用作为交换。上周打官司刚输给谷歌(Google)的甲骨文公司(Oracle)也采取了激进手段,指控搜索巨擘谷歌在开发安卓(Android)操作系统时侵犯其专利。甲骨文的败诉令看重开放性的软件爱好者们鼓掌称快。但甲骨文的股东们原来有望进账90亿美元。   Google itself is not known for its proactivity. It has sued only twice over patents — BT in 2013 and SimpleAir this week — but both were retaliatory. By contrast, since 2010 Microsoft has sued 13 times over patents and brought 191 copyright cases, according to data from Lex Machina. Google can point to its relative youth, but Intel also stays clear of courts and licensing despite being almost half a century old.  谷歌自身并不以积极主动著称。它只发起过两次专利侵权起诉——2013年起诉英国电信(BT)和本周起诉SimpleAir,但这两次都属报复行为。相比之下,来自Lex Machina的数据显示,微软(Microsoft)自2010年以来提起了13宗专利诉讼和191宗版权诉讼。谷歌可以说是因为相对年轻,但有半个世纪历史的英特尔(Intel)也选择远离官司和专利纠纷。   There may be good reasons for inaction, beyond friendliness or indolence. Companies can be reluctant to sue their own customers, for example. But spinning off intellectual property into a separate company can work in some instances. The entities so created would be freer to monetise the technology — licensing it and suing infringers. As tech companies mature, they need to profit from their earlier innovation. Nortel Networks spun off its patents into a new vehicle; unfortunately only after it entered bankruptcy. AOL, under fire from activists, sold a patent portfolio to Microsoft in 2012. Less challenged companies might be forced to look at similar structures in future.  除了友好和懒惰,不采取行动也有很好的理由,例如,有的公司可能不愿意起诉自己的客户。但剥离知识产权成立一家单独的公司,在某些情况下可能利大于弊。为此设立的公司可以更自由地将技术商业化——通过专利授权或起诉侵权者。随着科技公司逐渐成熟,他们需要从自己早期的创新中获利。北电网络(Nortel Networks)曾剥离其专利业务构成新的公司,不幸的是在其进入破产程序后才这么做。美国在线(AOL)在维权股东的攻击下,在2012年将其专利组合卖给了微软。未来,那些面对的挑战没那么严峻的企业也可能被迫求助于类似结构。 Lex专栏是由FT评论家联合撰写的短评,对全球经济与商业进行精辟分析    译者/艾卜
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