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The ballad of the undifferentiated product

By Francis Moran

I’ve been doing a lot of work with clients lately on refining their messaging and marketplace differentiation. It has always been clear to me that this is not a trivial thing. Unless you can carve out a unique value proposition for your offering, and communicate that proposition in an arresting and compelling fashion, you’re dead in the water. What I am increasingly coming to understand, however, is how courageous companies need to be in doing so.

Okay, maybe courageous is going too far; courage, after all, is reserved for heroes. Maybe daring is a better word. Here’s what I mean.

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Brand marketing that is inspired, but not imitative

By Leo Valiquette

There was an interesting story in the Globe and Mail last week that got me thinking about the distinction between product marketing and brand marketing.

The Globe’s Susan Krashinsky was writing about Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism industry and how the province’s efforts to brand itself with a memorable advertising campaign has provoked the best form of flattery possible – plagiarism.

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Apple versus Samsung: Samsung’s ‘out’ to escape infringement

By David French

This post goes right to the very heart of a patent and what a patent can and cannot do in the marketplace. And it has a twist, if you are prepared to bear with the analysis to the end.

In my prior post on the subject, I referred to an important hearing held on Dec. 6 this year before Trial Judge Lucy H. Koh. During the hearing, Samsung tried to limit the scope of the consequences of the $1-billion jury decision that arose out of the trial held in August. Among the numerous matters discussed, Apple asked that the jury’s award be increased by an extra one third of a billion dollars as “punitive damages.” The judge can also reduce the amount of the damages awarded if the jury has been unreasonable. Other issues were discussed, but the judge reserved her decision.

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Great articles roundup: Internet governance, crappy startups, great products, iteration, market demand, women VCs and CMOs

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are The Globe and Mail, Read Write, Mark Evans, The Wall Street Journal, VentureBeat, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes.

Governing the web (and everything else)

The governance of the Internet ain’t broken, so don’t fix it, says Don Tapscott.

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Apple versus Samsung – Every patent owner’s dream

By David French

On August 24, 2012 a California jury issued a decision awarding just more than $1 billion to Apple against three Samsung Electronics companies. This ranks among the top patent awards in U.S. history.  But the case is not over. The final decision, once settled by the judge, will be subject to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. In other mega-patent cases this court has been proactive in terms of adjusting decisions, even those supported by a jury verdict.

On December 6, 2012 an important hearing before trial judge Lucy H. Koh will occur. Samsung has the right and will request the court to render a judgment notwithstanding the verdict issued by the jury, requesting dismissal of the action. This type of procedure is permitted and has occurred in the past, particularly where the jury’s conclusions are so unreasonable as to be perverse. But this is not likely to happen, subject to one new twist: one of the jurors who led the jury in its debates did not fully disclose his special interest and knowledge about patents when questioned before being allowed to join the jury.

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Recent Comments

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

  • How can we foster culture of entrepreneurship? | Waterloo Innovation Summit : [...] Velocity also provides hands-on workshops for anyone at the University to learn about becoming a successful entrepreneur, and awards over $300,000 per year through the Velocity Fund to promising early startups, to help launch their success financially. We keep finding really good problems that are worthy of solving and that we think we’d be good at solving. - Mike Kirkup, Director of Velocity and Student Innovation Waterloo’s Velocity accelerator is 5, and growing fast [...]

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