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[News] Greedy Lawyers Want Software Patents, VC Firm Does Not

  • Subject: [News] Greedy Lawyers Want Software Patents, VC Firm Does Not
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 13:28:37 +0000
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

IP Lawyer: If You Are Against Software Patents, You Are Against Innovation


Well Respected VC Firm Comes Out In Favor Of Independent Invention Defense Against Patent Infringement Lawsuits

,----[ Quote ]
| Union Square Ventures has come out strongly 
| in favor of an independent invention defense 
| against patent infringement. This is great. I 
| have no idea if I helped to make this come 
| about, but a year ago, Union Square partner 
| Fred Wilson had spoken out about how patents 
| were harming his portfolio, and suggested 
| some ways to fix the system (not including an 
| independent invention defense). I responded 
| with a post suggesting he consider an 
| independent invention defense beyond his 
| proposals, as it would really solve a lot of 
| the problems. So it's really fantastic to see 
| the firm take a stand on such an important 
| issue -- proving once again what a lie it is 
| to claim that VCs require patents.


Proposal: An Independent Inventor Defense Against Software Patents

,----[ Quote ]
| Iâm extremely excited to see Brad and Fred 
| come out so strongly against software 
| patents.  Iâve been talking against this for 
| a long time and I expect my rants against 
| software patents are well known to any 
| readers of this blog (if you arenât familiar 
| with them, feel free to indulge yourself if 
| you are so inclined.)  But this is the first 
| time that Iâm aware that any of my peers â 
| other than my partners at Foundry Group â 
| have come out so strongly in public against 
| software patents. 



Other Legal Work Slow? Start A Practice To Help Patent Trolling

,----[ Quote ]
| From an economic standpoint, this activity
| is a pure dead weight loss on economic
| activity. There is nothing good that comes
| from it. You basically have companies that
| have ignored a patent they got for whatever
| reason, suddenly rediscovering it and using
| it to go after totally unrelated companies
| who actually innovated and brought products
| to market (almost always with no knowledge
| whatsoever of the questionable patent in
| the first place). And suddenly the actual
| innovators have to pay up to a company that
| did absolutely nothing with the invention.


Intellectual Ventures' patent protection racket


Nathan Myhrvoldâs Evil Genius

,----[ Quote ]
| Until recently, one of the few points Myhrvold could make in his own favor is
| that he hadnât started suing firms that declined to license his patent
| portfolio. I say âuntil recentlyâ because weâre now learning that the lawsuits
| have started. IV has begun selling off chunks of its patent portfolio to
| people like Raymond Niro with well-deserved reputations for being âpatent
| trolls.â Threatening to sell patents to a third party who will sue you is more
| subtle than threatening to sue you directly, but the threat is just as potent.
| Myhrvoldâs âsales pitchâ to prospective licensees just got a lot more
| convincing.
| The fundamental question we should be asking about this business strategy is
| how it benefits anyone other than Myhrvold and the patent bar. Remember that
| the standard policy argument for patents is that they incentivize beneficial
| research and development. Yet IVâs business model is based on the opposite
| premise: produce no innovative products, spend minimal amounts on research and
| development, and make a profit by compelling firms that are producing products
| and investing in R&D to pay up. Not only does this enrich Myhrvold at everyone
| elseâs expense, but it also reduces the incentive to innovate, because anyone
| who produces an innovative product is forced to share his profits with
| Intellectual Ventures. Patents are supposed to make innovation more
| profitable. Myhrvold is using the patent system in a way that does just the
| opposite. In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick
| would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his
| firm out of business.


Intellectual Ventures' Patents Starting To Show Up In Lawsuits

,----[ Quote ]
| Intellectual Ventures, of course, is the Nathan Myhrvold company that has
| been building up a huge portfolio of patents with which to get big tech
| companies to pay many millions of dollars to not get sued -- and, according
| to many, to get a cut of future deals as well, making the whole thing sound
| suspiciously like a pyramid scheme.
| [...]
| But, a year ago, we noted that the company appeared to be getting antsy.
| While it was bringing in some hefty fees from a small group of companies who
| bought into the equity pyramid (which neatly lets the world outside be
| confused over what's "investment" and what's "revenue"), there was concern
| that investors were getting impatient. Pouring billions of dollars into a
| company that isn't doing much can make some investors a little anxious. And
| while we still don't know of any direct lawsuits, Zusha Elinson has noticed
| that Intellectual Ventures' former patents are starting to show up in court,
| often involving some of the most well known names normally associated
| with "patent trolling."


Intellectual Ventures Takes Indirect Route to Court

,----[ Quote ]
| Both Apple and Microsoft have been reported to be IV investors.

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