Nathan Myhrvold's Bait And Switch Plan On Patent Hoarding

from the can-you-say-greenmail? dept

We've written about Nathan Myhrvold's dangerous plans to put hundreds of millions of dollars into hoarding patents many times before. Business Week is now running yet another article that tries to get to the heart of Myhrvold's plans -- though his company, Intellectual Ventures is being quite secretive. The article does discuss his "invention sessions" where he brings together a bunch of smart folks to brainstorm -- where the whole conversation is recorded and monitored by patent lawyers looking for anything they can file patents on. However, what's much more interesting is the story of how Myhrvold pulled a total bait-and-switch on the many big tech companies who represent his investors. The original business plan for Intellectual Ventures was to create a "Patent Defense Fund." The idea was to buy up all the available patents from the bursting dot com bubble and offer to license it to companies to protect them from patent infringement lawsuits from others using the typical nuclear stockpiling defense. However, these days, the company no longer discusses the patent defense fund. Instead, it refers to many of its own investors as "the patent infringers lobby." As the article suggests, it seems like the company basically convinced these companies to fund it based on this "defense fund" plan, by making it clear if they didn't invest, they would be the first targets for future lawsuits. In the meantime, would you trust any company that insists the patent system is just fine -- but doesn't seem to understand the history of innovation? Update: In a move that can't make folks happy at either magazine, it appears Fortune has an almost identical article about Myhrvold coming out. The two articles are so similar, in fact, that it makes you wonder why the publicity tour is starting up now.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 10:16am

    Bait And Switch

    This is the sort of thing that gives business a bad name.
    It's unethical, immoral, unmitigated greed in action.
    Parasitic vermin like this make me want to puke.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Zach, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 10:33am

    Patent Mafia

    There needs to be a "Patent Mafia" that goes and breaks legs for garbage like this. Basically, frivilous lawsuits brought on should come with the understanding that you might get millions, but your lawyers are going to be in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives... You'd see a quick end to this type of crap.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    s1l3nt.c, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 10:37am

    My latest patent

    I just want to make an official announcement that I have patented the concept of bitching about IP whores (and their pimps) on any blog.

    You may submit an immediate payment of $6725.36 to me , or I will unleash a pack of rabid shysters into your bedroom while you are sleeping and they will rewallpaper it with a vast array of extortion letters.

    Pleasant dreams. :-)

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Leo, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 11:00am

    where are my gates, jobs, and dells???

    i think it is going to be sad in 30 years when the process of innovation rests solely in the hands of organizations rather than with kids, in their garages, armed with nothing but a dream...

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 11:36am

    techdirt's idiocy

    What is fucking wrong with you, people ?

    America's economic prosperity was built on thousands of patented inventions made by many many inventors, some were corporate workers, some worked in their garages or workshops.

    Why is all this bitching and moaning about patent system ? Patent systme is not broken, the underlying principle is sound, it's just the current implementation is poor and underfunded.
    Without IP rights you would live in a much different world, and for many of us (at least for those who can create something new, not just steal...) this IP-less world would be an absolute nightmare

    Don't buy into Mike's foolish anti-patent propaganda (which for some strange reason happens to have many common points with the BS coming out of the infringer's PR depts)

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Panic, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    angry dude

    "Why is all this bitching and moaning about patent system ? Patent systme is not broken, the underlying principle is sound, it's just the current implementation is poor and underfunded. "

    You said it yourself right there what all the bitching is about.

    The principle's of Patents ARE sound, it is the implementation we're bitching about.

    Do you READ the articles here?

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 26th, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    Re: techdirt's idiocy

    angry dude,

    It's funny. Every time you come here and bitch about my views on patents, I ask you to respond with actual substance, and you never do. All we get are insults about how stupid I am. That's not particularly convincing.

    America's economic prosperity was built on thousands of patented inventions made by many many inventors, some were corporate workers, some worked in their garages or workshops.

    Yes, but it's an open question as to whether or not the patented part was what was important. In fact, there's increasing research that the patents actually held back innovation -- rather than encouraged it.

    The real success was in being able to bring a product to market successfully -- which is different than inventing the product.

    Take a look at the history of the steam engine for example. It was *slowed* by patents, and innovation didn't really occur until the first patents ran out.

    Why is all this bitching and moaning about patent system ? Patent systme is not broken, the underlying principle is sound, it's just the current implementation is poor and underfunded.

    Yes, the implementation is extremely poor, which is a lot of what we focus on here -- yet you still call use stupid.

    Second, "underfunded" is pretty laughable. The patent system is profitable, mainly because so many people are applying for as many patents as possible, since they realize that's how the system works these days. Throwing more money at the problem doesn't solve the underlying fundamentals about giving patents on obvious ideas and holding back innovation.

    Without IP rights you would live in a much different world, and for many of us (at least for those who can create something new, not just steal...) this IP-less world would be an absolute nightmare

    Again a broad generalization without any support. We've given plenty of examples where modern societies did away with patent protection and, rather than the "absolute nightmare" you describe -- they did quite well.

    In fact, putting in place patent protection has sometimes helped slow down innovation. Look at the case of pharmaceutical patents in Italy. Without patents they had a thriving and competitive market (one of the world's largest), which came up with new and useful pharmaceuticals. After patent protection was put in place, the industry almost entirely dried up.

    Nightmare? Where's the nightmare?

    Don't buy into Mike's foolish anti-patent propaganda (which for some strange reason happens to have many common points with the BS coming out of the infringer's PR depts)

    This is my favorite. You like to claim that we're somehow supported by big companies -- yet we're just as much against big companies abusing the patent system and holding back innovation as we are small companies doing so.

    The important issue is helping to promote innovation and grow the economy. The current system is clearly causing a lot of problems (even you admit that). Why do you then freak out and call us names when we point out the problems and call for change?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    docile dude, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 12:48pm

    angry dude

    whoa angry dude, is your name Nathan Myhrvold?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    docile dude, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 12:50pm

    angry dude

    whoa angry dude, is your name Nathan Myhrvold?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Saint Jerome, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 8:18pm

    As far as I know "protection money" is extortion and illegal in the United States. That is the realm of the mafia.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    International Space Agency (ISA), May 10th, 2007 @ 8:26pm

    Nathan Myhrvold - Inventors

    I saw a story on CNN tonight on Nathan Myhrvold, and his invention shop. I am very interested if this is legit, or is a big money scam to steal the brain capital of America?

    I have contacted Nathan Myhrvold by phone, to arrange a meeting with him. I will see if he is legit, or not?

    I would like to say, that as a genius and inventor for 30+ years, that the inventors in America are under attack from within, and from without, the USA.

    Countries like China, U.K., and Australia are setting up so called invention shops in the U.S.A., as U.S. front companies, to pin point and steal or destroy American geniuses and inventors.

    Also, the United States Military and NSA have systematically sought out state of the art inventions and inventors and subjected them to covert theft, or steal their work under the guise of National Security.

    The United States Patient Office is a joke, and is totally corrupt, and is why the vast majority of REAL geniuses and inventors do not even file their work with the patient office anymore. As a matter of fact, the International Space Agency, and our work with state of the art space transportation and propulsion systems, have been warned by numerous patient attorneys NOT to file our work with the United States patient office, lest the U.S. Government STEAL or SIEZE or work, under the GUISE of NATIONAL SECURITY!

    Ask Burt Rutan about the MEN IN BLACK, who came to his company, Scaled Composites, after his successful launch into space with Space Ship One, and threatened to arrest him or SIEZE his company, if he sold that technology to Virgin Galactic (Our U.K. Allies).

    Many PRIVATE Space Companies, Inventors, and Researchers have been destroyed and undermined by the United States Government, in order to maintain U.S. MILITARY CONTROL of Earths Orbit and Space!

    In the good old days of American Invention and Historic Growth and Discovery, Inventors were protected and made heroes. Today they are fodder for government and corporate greed and lust for power!

    That is why 30+ years after the Moon landing, we cannot even today barely get into or stay in Earths Orbit!

    In a day in age when the social corrupt elite make millions for eating bugs and having open sex on National T.V., and our Nations crème of the crop and the core of our Nations Future, are starving to death and being gobbled up and destroyed!

    The whole purpose Benjamin Franklin set up the patient office of the United States, was to protect the genius of this country, and that those with genius were rewarded and acknowledged for their important contributions to American Society.

    The "SO CALLED" Invention Show that was on T.V. not so long ago, was a JOKE! They paraded homosexuals around the stage and pushed and anti-inventor / anti-American leftist agenda and propaganda mill. NO REAL AMERICAN INVENTOR would have EVER been part of that SIDE SHOW and MESS! But, indeed, where is the main stream media support of our Nations REAL Geniuses and Inventors???!!!!

    No where to be seen or heard, because it does not serve the agenda of those taking control of America!

    To destroy America, you must first DUMB IT DOWN, and DESTROY ITS BRAIN CAPITAL! This has been strategically underway for 30+ years now! It is only a matter of time before America becomes a bunch of bumbling idiots, that cannot even keep its National Space Agency up and running, or even keep it high technology base functioning!

    What side of the fence is Nathan Myhrvold on?
    I really do not know, but I am going to try and find out!

    Ad-Astra! To The Stars!
    In Peace For All Mankind!

    Signed, American Inventor

    Mr. Rick R. Dobson, Jr.
    Chairman & CEO
    International Space Agency, I.S.A.
    International Space Administration
    Registered Trademark & Copyright
    1986 to 2007, All Rights Reserved
    https://www.international-space-agency.org
    Washington, D.C. Phone: (202) 917-0209
    Omaha, Nebraska Phone: (402) 299-2799

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Windsor Exports, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 2:26am

    Switches,Spring Switch,Lock Switches,Push button switch,Metal Switches,Fasteners

    Manufacturer and Supplier of Switches, Windsor Switches, Manufacturer Switches, Metal Switches, Push button switch, Switches Supplier. We are Trader Exporter Switches, Maker Switches, Switches India.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    lrobbo (profile), May 30th, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    Yeah, this kind of story makes me sick . . .

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 9:47am

    I'm actually shocked that no accountant at [Redacted] has yet worked out that it would cost a few tens of thousands of dollars to have myhrvold 'disappeared' but MILLIONS to fight constantly in court as he tries strategy after strategy trying to wear them down into settlements....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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