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The responsibilities of ownership
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| The influential blog Techdirt regularly refers to Intellectual Ventures as a
| patent troll. IPWatchdog, an intellectual property site, called IV "patent
| troll public enemy #1." These blogs write about how Intellectual Ventures has
| amassed one of the largest patent portfolios in existence and is going around
| to technology companies demanding money to license these patents.
| Patents are a big deal in the software industry right now. Lawsuits are
| proliferating. Big technology companies are spending billions of dollars to
| buy up huge patent portfolios in order to defend themselves. Computer
| programmers say patents are hindering innovation.
| But people at companies that have been approached by Intellectual Ventures
| don't want to talk publicly.
| "There is a lot of fear about Intellectual Ventures," says Chris Sacca, a
| venture capitalist who was an early investor in Twitter, among other
| companies. "You don't want to make yourself a target."
| Sacca wouldn't say if Intellectual Ventures had been in contact with any of
| the companies he's invested in.
| One former IV patent was used by an NPE to sue 19 different companies, a broad
| assortment that included Dell, Abercrombie & Fitch, Visa, and UPS.
| These companies all have websites where, when you scroll your mouse over
| certain sections, pop-up boxes appear. The NPE said, "We have the patent on
| that." Which would make pretty much the entire Internet guilty of infringing
| the patent.
| Another group of former IV patents is being used in one of the most
| controversial and talked about cases in Silicon Valley right now. An NPE
| called Lodsys is suing roughly three dozen companies developing apps for the
| iPhone and for Android phones. Lodsys says it owns the patent on buying things
| from within a smartphone app.
| One interesting wrinkle about that case: The address for Lodsys is 104 E.
| Houston street, Marshall Texas, suite 190. The same exact address, down to the
| suite number, as Oasis Research.
Angry Birds maker Rovio sued by Lodsys as US software patents multiply"
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| The makers of the Angry Birds app are being sued by a tiny American company
| which claims it owns patents on the method used to buy new levels inside the
| game â a move which has already put off a number of UK developers from selling
| mobile apps in the US.
| Lodsys, apparently a one-man company based in Marshall, Texas, has named
| Finland's Rovio in a patent lawsuit in a Texas court, and has also begun suing
| some of the biggest names in mobile gaming, including Electronic Arts, Atari,
| Square Enix and Take-Two Interactive.
| The growth of lawsuits in the US by so-called "patent trolls" â which do not
| make anything but simply demand payments after asserting intellectual property
| rights â threatens to snuff out the booming mobile app market, which is
| expected to be worth Â4.5bn this year and double that in 2012. A number of
| patent-owning companies have begun lawsuits in the US against more than a
| dozen software companies. However, many small independent developers find the
| costs of a lawsuit too onerous, even given that they could run into thousands
| of dollars.
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