Intellectual Property Law

New Matter SPRING 2018, Volume 43, Number 1

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Thomas A. Ward

ARRIS Group, Inc.

Welcome to the spring edition of New Matter for 2018. Upon first glance at the cover art, most would expect the drawing is from a SpaceX patent, possibly with Elon Musk as the inventor. Instead, looking closely you see the first inventor is Jeff Bezos of Amazon. The assignee is actually Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin. SpaceX was sued for infringement of the patent shown on the cover by Blue Origin. Blue Origin, which competes with SpaceX was accused of being a troll, even though a troll is typically identified as a non-practicing entity. The patent battle ended with Blue Origin losing its patent rights.

The cover illustrates that patents play a part when major changes in technology occur. Similar patent battles occurred in the recent past such as over smart phones (Apple vs. Samsung) and the operating system for personal computers (Apple vs. Microsoft). Going further back, significant battles can be seen when technology changes occurred, such as with the development of the airplane (Wright Brothers vs. Glenn Curtis) and the telephone (Bell vs. Meucci). Irrespective of the outcome of these cases, these matters show that intellectual property remains at the forefront of protection for technology.

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