EE Times is running a good article looking at the challenges facing the patent system -- but which includes two interesting tidbits about how some of these patent hoarding firms are trying to be seen in a more positive light. The first is that, while many people refer to patent hoarding firms as "patent trolls," these firms are now pushing the more friendly sounding "PLEC" name: "patent licensing and enforcement company." More interesting, though, is the news that a number of new venture funds are being formed solely for the sake of investing in these types of firms. As the article notes, this is only increasing the costs for everyone, making everyone feel they need to patent as much stuff as possible, as quickly as possible to protect themselves. It's the nuclear stockpiling situation we've discussed before. Everyone is spending all this money for defensive reasons that have little to nothing to do with innovation. Now, thanks to venture capital backing, it's likely to get even worse.
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