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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Speculation of USD39 billion

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CNNMoney.com (also, incidentally, Associated Press and USA Today) reported that a report by Masters Capital Management concluded that speculation could have been the driving factor behind the price increase of petrol. In their report, Masters Capital Management reported:

  • Investors poured USD$60 billion into oil futures from January to May 2008;
  • The price of crude oil increased from USD$95 per barrel in January, to USD$145 per barrel in July;
  • Investors have withdrawn USD$39 billion from oil markets between July 2008 to the present day;
  • These investors became alarmed when US Senate began holding hearings on speculation, starting May 2008;
  • The recent rise of petrol price may have been caused by speculators, not market forces.
 

The head of Masters Capital Management, Michael Masters, had previously on 20th May 2008, discussed the increasing investment by several new groups. S Dali, in the Star Online, wrote:

Masters talked about the resurgence of several groups over the past five years who he deemed as newcomers to the “commodity speculation scene”. They are corporate and government pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, university endowment funds and other institutional investors. Collectively, they constitute the largest share of outstanding commodities futures contracts than any other group.

Masters refers to them as “index speculators” because they distribute their allocation of dollars across 25 key commodities futures according to popular indices, namely the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index and Dow Jones AIG Commodity Index.

The rising interest in commodities was largely based on the assumption that historically, commodities have no correlation to fixed income and equities. It has to be noted however that while previously the futures market may have been relatively “not big enough” to provide this kind of diversification, this has not been the case over the last 10 years.

As at end 2003, assets allocated to commodity index trading stood at a whopping US$13bil. As of March 2008, that figure has ballooned to US$260bil!

Obviously, something highly significant has happened here with equally significant consequences.

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

S'pore IP Academy Deputy Chairman: Malaysian Companies Realising Value of Intellectual Property

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A report by Bernama today quoted David Llewelyn, deputy chairman of Singapore's IP Academy, saying that most companies in Malaysia today are realising the value of intellectual property in revenue generation and valuation creation.   David Llewelyn suggested that Malaysian companies could start creating their IP assets by thinking ahead, specifically, by registering their brands and using creativity to add value to the products and services that they offered. 

References:
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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A Post After A Long While

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This blog has been lying fallow for some time now. In the spirit of honesty, perhaps it is good for me to review the types of players there are in the intellectual property market in Malaysia. I have been inspired to return to the path of intellectual property, even though it has been quite tough for me to command the kind of fees that I would like. A recent article at Law.com, "Have IP Boutiques Gone Extinct? Hardly" by Lisa Schuchman (dated 21st Aug, 2008), has given hope to me that it is possible to thrive in the intellectual property industry.

In that article, Schuchman wrote that IP boutiques firms continue to thrive. This was her conclusion despite the fact that a number of IP firms have been "swallowed up" by mergers with general practice firms. One factor driving these mergers is the increasing recognition among general practice firms that IP represents one avenue to grow their revenues. General practice firms are also increasingly making inroads in the area of IP litigation. Once general practice firms set up their own IP divisions, it is likely that they will compete with, rather than complement, IP boutique firms. Further, counsels involved in corporate litigation are likely to refer cases to general practice firms rather than IP firms, since they are likely to be from such a general practice firm themselves.

However, there are plus points in favour of IP boutique firms, which are driving their growth. One example pointed out by Schuchman is that IP boutique firms gave the impression that they were more likely to pay attention to their individual clients, compared to general practice firms. Further, boutique firms seem to be able to provide IP drafting at a more affordable price compared to their general practice counterparts. One reason seems to be that boutique firms rarely overstaff whereas large general practice firms are more likely to. But, Schuchman points out that it is in the technical expertise that IP boutique firms seem to shine. IP boutique firms are manned by people with technical and scientific background, making it easier for them to draft and prosecute patents. General practice firms are unable to compete with IP boutique firms in patent prosecution. Further, lawyer-litigators from IP boutique firms are likely to better understand the technical aspects of the subject matter.
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Saturday, 26 April 2008

SpinClip

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Resealable soft drink can -- patentable? Why not! Considering the fact that it solves a technological problem that has existed up to the present date, and no one has yet to device a solution that could reseal the soft drink in its initial packaging.

I read with amusement that Willi Weber, Michael Schumacher's agent, has patented a soft drink can design that can reseal after the seal has been opened. This potentially means reuse of soft drink cans for infinite applications, i.e. storing coins, other drinks, etc. Up to the present date most "recycling" of soft drink cans involved melting the cans into aluminum ingots and churning them into sheets.

Further Reading:

  • Wheels24.co.za, "Schumi agent patents invention" [link]
  • Automobilsportblog, "Willi Weber geht fremd" [link]
  • Flensburg online, "Spinclip: Wiederverschlie├čbare Getr├Ąnkedose" [link]

    Does it pass the tests of novelty and obviousness? I think, it does.
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    Monday, 21 April 2008

    Good way to Promote An IP Firm

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    Raj, a patent agent, is quite technologically savvy. So much so that at this point of writing, he has 20 videos uploaded into YouTube under the username "RajPatent". This is one of his videos, and I can only say that this patent attorney with offices in both USA and India is someone that I would like to emulate one day.

    Enjoy. The talk is called "How To Draft Strong Patent Claims".

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    Saturday, 19 April 2008

    Asustek sues IBM

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    Asustek has filed a patent infringement suit alleging that IBM has infringed its patents related to storage-area networking equipment and server products. Asustek is seeking undisclosed monetary damages for alleged infringement of three (3) patents.

    Via ComputerWorld.
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    Tuesday, 8 April 2008

    Netac and PNY Settlement

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    China Daily reports that Shenzhen-based Netac Technology Co Ltd, has reached a settlement with "PNY Technologies Inc, a market leader in the US computer storage retail market" after a two year lawsuit. The compromise solution was to ink a licensing contract allowing PNY to make use of Netac’s patent.

    Netac's China patent bears the reference number ZL 99117225.6 and was approved as US patent 6,829,672.

    The figure in the settlement agreement was not revealed in the report. It was however reported that
    Netac has 336 patents globally, of which 245 are invention patents. It licenses 32 patents across the world, including the Chinese mainland, the US, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.


    Here are some links for readers of this blog.

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