For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Forbes disruptors list: where innovation meets IP


While on the plane which (sadly enough) was bringing her back from New York City, this Kat was enjoying reading another favourite publication of hers, this being Forbes magazine. 

This month's issue features an intriguing article entitled Disruptors that addresses the following question: "Who are the people shaking up their fields most dramatically?". 

The article presents a list of twelve most disruptive names in business in the following categories: social media, finance, genomics, tobacco products, retail, education, health care, e-payments, computing, entertainment, media, and energy.

The most impressive thing this Kat found was that at least six categories out of twelve concern people and business ideas that not only are shaking their (business) fields most dramatically, but also either challenging current IP laws or creating products and services for which IP protection is particularly relevant. 

It was indeed unsurprising (yet intriguing) to see Aereo founder Chet Kanojia (litigation here) indicated as the 'disruptor' in the entertainment field. 

Average Forbes reader
Similarly, it was foreseeable that the names of 'disruptors' in the media and computing categories were those of entrepreneurs who have unlashed the potential of cumulative and collaborative modes of content production or distribution. 

Jonah Peretti (media 'dispruptor') launched BuzzFeed in 2006, but it was only last year that this website and its "engineered virality" (as Wired called it) "started morphing from a social news site known for its silly lists and images of grumpy cats [not Kats] into a real digital news enterprise ... The idea: Create content and ads we can't resist from passing along to everyone."

Computing 'disruptor' and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth provides an open-source Linux-based operating system software which can turn one's devices (tablet, smartphone, laptop or TV) into one connected system. The idea is to offer the basic platform for free and charge for enterprise and cloud services.

Disruptor or innovator?
Patent fans will be happy to know that, as regards tobacco products, a most disruptive business is that led by patent attorney and inventor Craig Weiss, NJOY (e-cigarette market leader) CEO.

As noted by Forbes's Caroline Howard, it is not always easy to distinguish innovation from disruption. This is because "Disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptors — in the same way that a square is a rectangle but not all rectangles are squares." The list compiled by Forbes "is a snapshot of today’s most influential upstarts (the Davids, if you will) who are shaking up the Goliaths of a dozen of different industries, ranging from social media and computing to retail, tobacco and health care." 

As far as IP is concerned, Forbes rankings can be seen - among other things - as another demonstration of the role this area of the law has in either favouring or hindering the emergence of 'disruptive' business models. Being quite flexible, it can accomodate both tendencies, but any choice in this respect and in such a fast-moving scenario does not come without consequences ...

2 comments:

hollyipltd said...

The more 'disruptive' a technology is, the broader the claims you can go for in a patent application. When working with academic clients I find it useful to get a feel for how disruptive (groundbreaking) the invention is to assist with providing advice on how ambitious they should be. The more disruptive it is, the less prior art should be found, and hopefully the more likelihood of commercial backing.

Rahul said...

I even doubt if disruptors are innovators too. Well, may be most but not all. Some disruptors may get things right, that's all about them. Innovation is social or technical or just any sort of 'visible' advance. What kind of advance has Buzzfeed offered, if we were not to be trapped in delicious sounding "engineered virality"? Virality has been engineered by Psy. That is the epitome of "virality" and that is what should be benchmark of engineering virality. Psy innovated in dance steps. and there are many websites that do the stuff that Buzzfeed do. For example, siliconindia. To give crazy lists is no innovation. It is just smart business trick. I find "Onion" as much better content based website and the one which actually creates "buzz", raises eyebrows, invites attention.

Or, may be, the above comment of mine is driven by my prejudice against 99% of website developers, especially those among them who call themselves "innovators" or "entrepreneurs" and yet all they have to offer is a silly e-commerce website or some top 10, top 100 content based stuff. After all top 10, top 100 of anything is just an opinion.

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