October 15, 2020

Happy Fall to our colleagues, clients and friends! It's hard to imagine, but we have entered the last quarter of 2020, which will certainly go down in history as a year to remember! Our offices here in Palo Alto are still closed, as are most offices in the Bay Area, but things are beginning to open up slowly in Santa Clara County, where we are located.  

In this newsletter, we are celebrating the R&D 100 Award received by our client, U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNLfor ShAPE™, an energy-efficient manufacturing method, enabling next-generation materials for a wide variety of high-tech industries.   We are very excited to have had the opportunity to work on the ground-breaking ShAPE™ technology with the PNNL team.  Also in this newsletter, our most recent blog discusses the Centripetal Networks v. Cisco Systems case, a patent case that generated one of the highest damages awards in history.

We have certainly taken full advantage of the many webinar and virtual conference speaking opportunities presented to us by various organizations that we are affiliated with.  In this newsletter, we feature two of the panels from the IPWatchdog CON2020 virtual conference where I had the pleasure of speaking on two very important, but entirely different, topics: the Gender Gap in inventorship and funding, and the patenting strategies of Unicorns (startups with valuations in excess of $1 Billion).  Highlights from both panels, as well as links to the recordings, are provided in the Foresight Webinar Highlights section below.  We are also gearing up for the LES Annual Meeting, kicking off virtually this week (Oct. 15th-20th).  See our Upcoming Events for the description of an Oct. 17th panel where I will be discussing the various monetization strategies for mature IP portfolios.

Enjoy Fall & Stay safe and healthy!


Foresight Webinar HighlightsInTheMedia

Foresight President, Efrat Kasznik, has recently been a panelist and moderator on two panels as part of the IPWatchdog CON2020 virtual conference.  Below are some of the highlights and links to these panels.


The panel discussed the current underrepresentation of women and possible steps forward in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, patent professions and inventing. The panelists included Hope Shimabuku, the Director of the USPTO Texas Office; Megan Carpenter, Dean of the University of NH Franklin Pierce School of Law; Efrat Kasznik, President of Foresight Valuation Group; Delicia Clarke, Associate at WilmerHale; and Sandra Nowak, Assistant Chief IP Counsel at 3M.  IPWatchdog has covered the panel in an article titled: Panelists Provide Perspectives on The Gender Gap in Stem Education, Funding and Inventorship, where Efrat's comments on women entrepreneurs were discussed: 

"Kasznik explained that funding is the "last mile" in the gender gap. She noted that female venture capital (VC) funding has been limited to 2%-3% of capital invested between the years of 2008 and 2020. She said that the reason women get less funding may be due to the fact that women are missing from the VC ecosystem and from corporate leadership. She also noted that structural and cultural changes are being made and "while it may take a decade or more to be reflected in the funding statistics, industry is taking important steps in the right direction toward improving the landscape of women entrepreneurs." For example, Kasznik explained, changes are taking place to address women leadership and funding gaps, such as an increase in women representation on Boards, women investing in other women, and women graduating from business schools."

Full article here


In connection with this panel, Efrat has previously published an article on IPWatchdog titled: Boys Will Be Boys: Getting a Foot in the Funding Door for Women Entrepreneurs, discussing the reasons why women don't get funded as having much to do with the institutional structure of the venture capital (VC) ecosystem, as well as the corporate representation (or lack thereof) of women in senior management and board positions.  

The panel discussed the current state of patent portfolio creation and management in Unicorns (startups valued over $1 billion, pre-exit) and startups in general, how patents impact valuation and monetization, and why patent positions seem to be uncorrelated with value in some Unicorns, particularly in software-related industries The panelists included Carole Boelitz, Exec. Director of IP, Lenovo; Kurt Brasch, Head of Patent Transactions and Patent Policy, Uber; Efrat Kasznik, President, Foresight Valuation Group (Moderator); and
Mark Roche, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Techquity Capital Management.

To kick off the discussion, Efrat has presented some data related to Foresight's Unicorn studies (we started doing these studies in 2015, and they have been updated annually).  Below are some of the key highlights:
  • There are 490 Unicorns worldwide (as of Aug. 2020) with a total valuation in excess of $1.5 Trillion
  • About 48% of all Unicorns operate in the US, another 24% are based in China, and the rest are spread in various countries (India, Brazil, and Singapore, among others)
  • The most valuable Unicorn in the world is China's ByteDance (parent of Tik Tok) with a valuation or approximately $140 Billion, followed by China's Didi Chuxing which is valued at approximately $56 Billion
  • SpaceX is the most valuable US Unicorn ($46 Billion), followed by Stripe ($36 Billion), Palantir ($20 Billion - pre IPO), and Airbnb ($18 Billion)
  •  62% of US Unicorns had 10 or less published patent assets (issued or pending) as of 2015

Foresight Blog HighlightsForesightBlog

The 22-day bench trial in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia concluded last week with a verdict in favor of Centripetal Networks for $1.9 billion in past damages and a running royalty of 10% for three years followed by a 5% royalty for an additional three years. The Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc. case involved the assertion of five patents that deal with complex computer networking security functions. 

Centripetal accused various Cisco network devices of infringing the asserted patents, including Cisco's Switches, Routers, Digital Network Architecture, Cognitive Threat Analytics as well as other products. Of the five asserted patents, the Court found that each element of the asserted claims in four valid and infringed by one or more of Cisco's products and that Centripetal had failed to meet its burden of proof on infringement of the asserted claims of the fifth patent.

R&D 100 Awarded to ShAPE™ IPNewsDigest


Congratulations to our client, U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNLfor winning six R&D 100 awards this year for five of its innovations! The prestigious R&D 100 Awards, now in its 58th year, recognize pioneers in science and technology from industry, the federal government, and academia. Including the most recent awardees, PNNL has garnered a total of 116 awards since the R&D 100 Awards' inception.

We had the privilege of working with the PNNL team on one of the technologies that earned an R&D 100 Award in the Process/Prototyping category:Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™). ShAPE™, an energy-efficient manufacturing method, transforms metal feedstocks- such as ingots, powders, or recycled scrap- into higher performing components in a single step. The PNNL custom-designed ShAPE™ machine uses less energy than conventional extrusion and delivers better products, enabling next-generation materials for a wide variety of high-tech industries. 

Upcoming Events Upcomingevents

Foresight Speaking Events

Managing Mature IP and Technology Portfolios
(LES/USA-Canada 2020 Annual Meeting)
When managed correctly, the patent portfolios of mature companies are deep wells of licensable technology, repurposed ideas, and actionable data. Join our panel of experts to learn best practices for getting the most value out of mature IP and technology.

Date: October 17, 2020
Time: 12:00pm PT/3:00pm ET