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Intellectual Property, Patent Donations, and the Problem of Orphan Technologies | 2004-Apr-14

Intellectual Property, Patent Donations, and the Problem of Orphan Technologies

On Wednesday, April 14, 2004, the Washington Network Group and Athena Alliance convened a "Technology Insight Breakfast" with a leading expert on intellectual property, David Martin, CEO, of M-CAM. This discussion was moderated by Ken Jarboe, President of Athena Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicating to exploring the pitfalls and promises of the global information economy.

The seminar took place at the Sheraton Premiere hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The event was attended by representatives from the corporate, legal, and non-governmental organization sectors.

The WNG was very pleased to have the sponsorship of EndeavorConnect LLC for this special event. For more information about our sponsor, please click on this link: www.endeavorconnect.com


We live in an economy driven by innovation. Companies everywhere aggressively seek to foster and utilize their intellectual property. Patents are one method they use to turn ideas into market opportunities. Yet, some experts claim that 97% of patents have no economic value; others put that number at something more like 25%. Estimates are that 70% to 80% of U.S. corporate patents are classified as “orphans” – that is, they will never be developed by a company into marketable products. One way of exploiting these orphan technologies is by donating them to non-profit groups (such as universities) who can nurture and develop them. But concerns over the potential for abuse in this process of patent donation has become so great that both the IRS and the Congress are taking steps to reign-in such donations.

What is the future of patent donations? How can this tool be used and abused by technology companies? And what should companies look out for in their patenting process?

Speaker Biographies:

Dr. David Martin is CEO of M-CAN and a renowned expert in domestic and international technology transfer. In the 1990's, he created the first collateral enhancement products that allow regulated financial institutions to use intangible assets as collateral in commercial credit. A global expert in patent enforcement and issuance, Dr. Martin's technological developments in credit, risk management, and patent analysis are used by the world's largest risk transfer, finance, and corporate entities. He has founded numerous businesses in for-profit and non-profit settings, includung the Charlottesville Venture Group, a non-profit venture aggregation organization in the mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Martin frequently interacts with policy makers on matters regarding financial and legislative treatment of intellectual property.

Ken Jarboe is President of Athena Alliance, and President of Jarboe & Associates, a Washington, DC-based political economy consulting firm. Dr. Jarboe has served in a number of senior staff positions for the United States Senate, including as Chief Economist for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, and is the author of numerous publications on economic competitiveness, corporate strategy, international trade and technology policy. Among his latest reports are Inclusion in the Information Age; Knowledge Management as an Economic Development Strategy; Making the Global Economy Work for Every Worker; and Technology and Economic Growth.

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