Justice Department's Top Terrorism Prosecutor Goes Patent Troll

from the sad-state-of-affairs dept

We've certainly had our issues with the way the Justice Department has dealt with certain terrorism "threats" -- specifically with its "thwarting" of its own bomb plots, and ridiculously amateurish attempts to create informants, who often made situations worse, not better. However, assistant attorney general for national security, David Kris, generally had a very good reputation, and a history of standing up to his bosses when he thought they were going too far -- earning admiration even from those who normally disagree with the DOJ. So it was a bit of a surprise to many people to see him step down after just two years on the job.

And while his expertise was supposedly in national security law, and you could see how that could be put to good use in private practice, instead it appears that Kris has decided to go patent troll. He has joined uber patent troll, Intellectual Ventures as its new General Counsel... just as the company has finally started suing companies for not agreeing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to gain protection from its giant patent portfolio. While I certainly didn't agree with Kris on many of his positions, pretty much everyone agreed that he was really smart and thoughtful on a lot of these subjects. It seems that having his talents go to the world's biggest patent troll in an effort to disrupt innovation by putting a toll on it is a huge waste of talent that could have been put to productive, rather than destructive, use.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Perhaps this is the point - he can't force reform of patents from within, so he'll do it without.

    OR maybe I'm just a little crazy.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Adam, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    All about the money

    If someone offered you 5 million to start writing only pro copyright articles would you do it?

    I doesn't matter how smart you are when it comes to law, if your offered a deal you cant refuse it would be stupid to pass it up.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Re: All about the money

    Maybe he realizes that they are right, they have enough valid patents, and there is plenty more money and plenty more time off playing on the winning side instead of the losing side.

     

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

  4.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: All about the money

    (the winning side in this case being Intellectual Ventures, and the losing side being society as a whole)

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: All about the money

    Not just society but domestic/foreign business, startup companies, real inventors with valid patents pre(every unregistered concept is an invention). I can't complain about patents on things that one could make an argument for without using "in the real world it's like"... That's the bulk of the patents at IV.

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    That "huge waste of talent" is producing documents that will become public domain. That work is and will be useful. Its not so much of a waste.

     

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

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    This is just more evidence that the purpose of these "protection" agencies is not to protect the American public from terrorism, but to protect the unearned profit margins of big corporations.

     

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

  8.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    Re:

    That "huge waste of talent" is producing documents that will become public domain.

    Ha! I'm guessing you've never looked at the dreck that IV has patented. It's the opposite of what you say. So much of it is ideas already in the public domain that they've locked up.

    We've pointed to multiple studies that have shown the supposed "disclosure" aspect of patents does not work. Relying on that as a defense of IV is sad and a statement from a position of ignorance.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:15pm

    Re: All about the money

    "if your offered a deal you cant refuse it would be stupid to pass it up."

    What's the price tag on your self respect?

     

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

  10.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    Is IV more ethical than TechDIRT?

    The answer is YES.

    We have an epidemic of big companies building their fortunes based on intentional serial infringement of others inventions. The thieves like to talk about "patent trolls" to mask the fact that they are committing larceny on the grandest of scales.

    As a result of their counting on people not being able to defend their patent property rights and the difficulty of an inventor being able to draw investors to pay for them to defend their property rights those companies have intentionally left patents which they should have acquired on the market.

    Capitalism always fills market opportunities. Anyone with any common sense understands this. It is hard to blame Intellectual Ventures for stepping into a market opportunity which patent pirating large companies maliciously created.

    I am not a fan of Intellectual Ventures (IV). I believe that they do not give inventors a fair shake. But it is a fact that they do treat inventors better than the companies who whine about patent trolls who gave them nothing. All these companies need to do to stop their litigation problems is to buy the patents they need before using them. If they started buying all the patents Intellectual Ventures would wither and die.

    Working for IV is most certainly more honorable than working for any member of the Coalition for Patent Piracy & Fairness (a trade association of serial infringers and asset thieves).

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  11.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:10pm

    Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    "Ha! I'm guessing you've never looked at the dreck that IV has patented. It's the opposite of what you say. So much of it is ideas already in the public domain that they've locked up."

    Mike,

    Surely IV's dreck is far more inventive than anything you have done. There is no question that Nathan P. Myhrvold is orders of magnitude smarter that you. The difference in intellectual capacity is so great that you are incapable of grasping it. On one hand we have a thinly veiled PR hack and on the other a genius.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  12.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: All about the money

    "(the winning side in this case being Intellectual Ventures, and the losing side being society as a whole)"

    Actually, society will benefit because the large patent ripoff companies will have to start buying patents they use. inventors will prosper instead of being driven into bankruptcy. There will be fewer paid bloggers fronting for disreputable large corporations.

    Think of IV like Chemo. Big companies will be sick as hell while the poison kills off the malignant parts but if it does not kill them they will be better off.

    What is funny about this is that these companies are being sickened by their own poison.

    Once the companies are cured they will buy all those patents themselves. They will have a very good reason to out bid IV.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Theoden, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    And we have RJR a not-so-thinly-veiled PR hack / troll.

    Just making sure we are all keeping score!

     

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

  14.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: All about the money

    So let me get your reasoning strait here.

    IV buys patents.
    Poisons the patent pool.
    Companies incentive is to buy patents.
    Poisons the business pool.
    **Missing a few steps**
    Cured?

    How the hell does that make any sense. How the hell is any business (notably start-ups) intend to break into any market where there's enough sustainable demand with this model?

     

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

  15.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Is IV more ethical than TechDIRT?

    easier solution. Remove the patent system and learn to market your brand or franchise your greatest asset; distribution elsewhere.

     

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

  16.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    appeal to authority... check
    they are smarter then though.. check
    appeal to antithesis and believing both are true for an Orwellian spin(in example "It's the opposite of what you say"... check

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    How are those failed rail patents working, RJR?

     

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

  18.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    Actually, I have patents, I manufacture product, and my inventions contributed about $400 million annually in GNP for the full term of the patents. They also created about 4,000 jobs per year, half of which are in my home state.

    Ronald J. Riley,
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    "How are those failed rail patents working, RJR?"

    We shipped a new batch of Electrified Monorail controllers a few weeks ago. They became a worldwide standard. Some of the systems are over twenty years onld now and they are still working well.

    Ronald J. Riley,
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  20.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:45pm

    Are you a MLM?

    "market your brand or franchise your greatest asset; distribution elsewhere."

    Is this like a MLM?

    Patents are a small businesses best friend. You use them to protect your market while building a brand. After the patents expire the brand gives you additional protection.

    Without the patents some Chinese company knocks off the design and you have nothing of value.

    Utah is a state of mostly small business,something Sen. Hatch does not seem to understand or care about. There are many invention based small businesses in Utah. Virtually all of them have much higher profit margins than those who are reselling commodity products made in China.

    Ronald J. Riley,
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    "Some of the systems are over twenty years onld now"

    Don't patents expire in 20 years?

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Are you a MLM?

    Mass level ... define distribution elsewhere if you have the funds or the initiative to buy another business. Oh and having the clarity that granted monopolies... need i say more?

    Your doing your job right if there is somebody starts doing it elsewhere. And btw the appeal to the anti-thesis of China will kill my successful business (assuming you entered the market on something marketable) is a flat out self delusion based in fear of the unknown, fear of the knockoff, fear of highest form of flattery? LMAO. Ignorance isn't a faithful friend.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Are you a MLM?

    "Virtually all of them have much higher profit margins than those who are reselling commodity products made in China."

    No one is denying that patents help the profit margins of those who hold such patents, that's what monopolies do. But there is almost no evidence that they promote the progress.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Are you a MLM?

    "Without the patents some Chinese company knocks off the design and you have nothing of value."

    The Chinese seem to be perfectly innovative without patents. The U.S., on the other hand, doesn't seem to be very innovative. I see little evidence that they copy us, in fact, most of the evidence suggests that we copy the Chinese and the Japanese a lot more than they copy us. Look at most of the newer medical (and other) technology, most of it is being developed outside the U.S. in case you haven't noticed. Very little gets developed in the U.S. anymore and most of what does get developed often benefits heavily from tax funding.

    Others will likely independently come up with those same ideas without you and often have come up with them before the patent holder. Your problem is that you can't compete without the government giving you an unearned, unlevel playing field. You don't want to Chinese and others to out innovate you so your solution is to use litigation to stop them from innovating.

    If the Chinese et al can sell a better product than you and outsell you then you deserve to go out of business. Offering a better product at a cheaper price is what innovation is all about. Preventing them from doing so through litigation doesn't advance innovation, it only hinders it by allowing you to make money on a product that would have been obsolete a long time ago had it not been for broken laws preventing competitors from providing a better product and innovating.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    [Citation Needed]

    Not that you will ever provide one, of course.

     

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

  26. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Luther, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 1:17am

    think this is a great post. One thing that I find the most helpful is number five. Sometimes when I write, I just let the flow of the words and information come out so much that I loose the purpose. Itís only after editing when I realize what Iíve done.

     

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

  27.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jan 14th, 2011 @ 4:14am

    Re: Re: All about the money

    Maybe pigs can fly soon.

     

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

  28.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jan 14th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Re: All about the money

    Nope, the price to shut up Techdirt is 100,000,000.

     

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

  29.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jan 14th, 2011 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    Stop pulling bogus numbers out of your ass. Makes you look even more stupid, or better

    The difference in intellectual capacity is so great that you are incapable of grasping it.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 4:32am

    Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    non-sequitur

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 4:39am

    Re: Is IV more ethical than TechDIRT?

    It would help your argument(s) if there were facts and logical analysis provided in support of said arguments - you know, kind of like found on TechDirt.

     

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

  32.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jan 14th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Is IV more ethical than TechDIRT?

    "It would help your argument(s) if there were facts and logical analysis provided in support of said arguments - you know, kind of like found on TechDIRT."

    Now that is funny. TechDIRT presents a subset opinions, just those which they like as facts. Then they build sham arguments around their pseudo facts. Isn't this the essence of what PR hacks do?

    Logical analysis is wasted in TechDIRT. It goes to show how a herd of TechDIRT lemmings are less than the sum of their parts.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Is IV more ethical than TechDIRT?

    So, no, you have no facts to back you up?

     

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

  34.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 15th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Mike Masnick Not Qualified To Comment On Patents

    Staying classy as always, Ronald!

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 15th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Is IV more ethical than TechDIRT?

    Don't forget, no logical analysis either.

     

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


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