Industry Market Trends

Worth a Look: Inside the Patent Wars

May 30, 2012

Plus: Manufacturing's Flat Wages, Qualities of a Great Boss, Protecting Intellectual Property, Savant Syndrome, Sourcing in China and Benefits of Team Diversity.

Sometimes the Internet seems like it's gotten too big. To help navigate this sea of information, IMT's weekly Wednesday feature spotlights some of the more interesting, informative and amusing resources that might have slipped under your radar - all in bite-sized chunks.

  • Are Flat Wages Driving the Manufacturing Recovery? | Wages for manufacturing workers aren't keeping up with inflation, and this may be boosting the competitiveness of the United States industrial sector in the global market. According to the Wall Street Journal, high unemployment has enabled employers to restrain or reduce growth in wages and benefits, with average manufacturing compensation levels back to where they were in 2000, adjusted for inflation. Coupled with soaring productivity, this has resulted in an influx of business for U.S. industry.

  • 5 Qualities of a Remarkable Boss | Broach the subject of bad bosses, and the floodgates open with stories from working professionals seething with rage and eager to share their experiences. The proliferation of boss-bashing highlights plenty of common behaviors of bad bosses - incompetence, bullying, unrealistic expectations, distrust, etc. - but what about the shared behaviors of good bosses? At, Jeff Haden highlights what he believes are the five qualities of a remarkable boss.

  • 10 Steps to Protect Intellectual Property | Most intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial, meaning that rights held and protectable in the United States do not necessarily provide protection in another country. For example, a U.S. patent or trademark only provides protection in the U.S. At, Partridge IP Law founding partner Mark Partridge lays out 10 steps for manufacturers to protect their IP when expanding into new markets.

  • The Challenges of Sourcing in China | Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, has been widely criticized for low wages and labor law violations in its China facilities. In Fast Company's Co.Exist blog, a former executive at rival electronics supplier Flextronics explains the many challenges of operating in China and the difficulty of balancing the need to keep costs low against maintaining responsible working conditions when running facilities abroad.

  • How Team Diversity Pays Off | Having a team whose members come from varied cultural backgrounds and life experiences can expand a company's strategic perspective and help create a competitive advantage. A recent study from McKinsey Quarterly shows the distinct business benefits of workplace diversity, including: the most diverse companies had average returns on equity that were 53 percent higher than the least diverse companies, while earnings before interest and taxes at top-diversity firms were 14 percent higher, on average.

  • When a Blow to the Head Creates Sudden Genius | Researchers believe that a permanent brain injury caused by a serious stagecoach accident may have been partially responsible for endowing British photographer Eadweard Muybridge with his artistic brilliance. Muybridge is one of a number of people who have miraculously developed artistic, musical or mathematical abilities as a result of a brain injury, as The Atlantic explains in a fascinating piece on how "savant syndrome" is helping to create whole new fields of scientific discovery.

  • Inside the Patent Wars | In the digital age, patents have become incredibly specific yet surprisingly broad in their scope of application, leading to a plethora of lawsuits and settlements between major companies. To help unravel some of these dense patent disputes, has provided an illustration of the largest ongoing intellectual property conflicts. The arrows point to which companies are suing each other, while the lines around the circumference show the various alliances and licensing agreements in play.