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NOV.-DEC. 2019     TAP TIMES          -14-          continues to be an important mechanism
                                                                for companies to trade access to one
                                                                another’s patents, but the terms of the
                 Bottom-gating (from 13)                        agreements have grown stronger.


        those involved in chip design have tended
        to be among the most litiginous. This has               Litigation strategy
        been true because increased strengthen-                 Firms with large patent portfolios such as
        ing of U.S. patent laws appears to have                 AT&T, IBM, Motorola and TI have adopted
        eased entry of new design fi rms into the                a more aggressive licensing and litigation
        industry.                                               strategy to profi t from their patents.  Of
                                                                course the sterling example is TI’s ‘029
                                                                patent.
        Aggressive enforcement
        These design fi rms, often relatively small              Between 1968-1993, TI earned, according
        in size, tend to enforce their patent rights            to the Davis book, $2 billion from licensing
        quite aggressively in court, primarily to es-           rights to to its chip patents.
        tablish proprietary rights in niche product
        markets.                                                The litigation success of Apple, AT&T, IBM,
                                                                TI and several others underscores the
        Infrequent paent litigation and widespread              book’s comment, “The cumulative nature
        cross-licensing have historically been part             of technology makes it diffi  cult to partici-
        of the semiconductor industry, the Ziedo-               pate legally without access to the pattents
        nis book reports.  Meanwhile, licensing                 of numerous fi rms.”













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