Tech Press Falling For Intellectual Venture's New Spin

from the just-reprint-the-press-release dept

It appears that Intellectual Ventures, the world's largest patent troll, is testing out some new hilarious spin concerning its business of shaking down companies who innovate, getting them to pay huge sums of money to avoid getting sued. And, ridiculously, some in the tech press are falling for it. ZDNet's Rachel King recently wrote about Salesforce.com paying off Intellectual Ventures not to sue it by basically reprinting IV's press release, to the point of describing IV not for what it actually does, but as a company that "invests in and works with investors and technology businesses to drive innovation and invention." Of course, if you know anything about Intellectual Ventures (or, hell, do a Google search) you'd quickly learn that what IV does has nothing to do with driving innovation or invention. It buys up crappy patents that are mostly worthless on their own, bundles them together in a big batch and then tells companies to pay up to (a) avoid getting sued and (b) get in on the deal by letting them use that big batch of patents at times.

The press doesn't need to out and out call IV a troll, which it is, but you'd think that anyone reasonably versed in the space would at least acknowledge the controversy over the company. The idea that it "works with technology businesses to drive innovation" is laughable. It does no such thing. Nothing IV has ever done has helped drive innovation forward. This American Life tried very, very hard to find a single example of Intellectual Ventures actually helping move innovation forward, as opposed to just shaking down companies to get them to pay up, and came up empty. Even the examples IV gave to the reporters from TAL turned out to not live up to their own claims, but rather were more cases of blatant patent trolling: taking highly questionable patents, and getting companies who almost certainly don't infringe, to pay up because it's cheaper than a lawsuit.

To position Salesforce.com's deal as some sort of cheery arrangement that somehow helps Salesforce.com is laughable. Salesforce.com just paid many millions of dollars to basically not be sued. That's many millions of dollars that won't be going into improving its products and services. There's news here, but it's not what's being reported.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    It should be grounds for termination for a reporter to mindlessly regurgitate a press release.

    I really fear for the future of news in this country.

     

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

  2.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 30th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Timely

    This American Life is revisiting the subject this weekend, with the episode "When Patents Attack, Part 2."

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Ty, May 30th, 2013 @ 6:26pm

    Ed Bott and MJ are the only two factual reporters on Zdnet, the rest just cater to fanboys with sensationalism or report utter crap. Ken Hess and SJVN are B to the rutal, I can't believe either of them have jobs. IMO

     

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  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    horse with no name, May 30th, 2013 @ 7:40pm

    This exposes

    This exposes once again the problem of online "news" sources. You know, nobody on the internet knows you are a dog, and few people on the internet know that you are just a photocopier for press releases.

    What makes it scarier is that almost every story on a site like Techdirt is based on a story written elsewhere, separating this site from the actual sources by at least one step. That initial filtering means that the writers here often start with less than the whole story. Worse, if their source is similar to Techdirt in nature, they may be getting the filtered version of the filtered version.

    The internet is an echo chamber, and sites like this are often the most reflective surface of all!

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 8:18pm

    Re: This exposes

    nuh-uh

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 8:53pm

    Re: This exposes

    Yawn. You're so boring.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), May 30th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    Re: The horse with no BRAIN...

    I'm sorry, but your HEAD is an echo chamber. What is your point?

    -1 Please try harder...

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 10:27pm

    How does an out of court settlement make them any less infringing?

     

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

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 10:33pm

    Did the reporter got invited to dinner on a boat?

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 10:48pm

    "ZDNet's Rachel King recently wrote about Salesforce.com paying off Intellectual Ventures not to sue it by basically reprinting IV's press release, to the point of describing IV not for what it actually does, but as a company that "invests in and works with investors and technology businesses to drive innovation and invention.""

    Sounds like extortion. "Give me a good rep or else ..."

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 10:56pm

    Re: This exposes

    Mainstream media is an echo chamber of propaganda. At least here you are allowed to come here and correct any mistakes. and if there are any and someone corrects it the article generally gets updated.

    But what have you contributed? You complain about incorrect information but you don't even have the decency to correct it? What exactly has your comment corrected here? Oh, you mean you have nothing to correct?

    At least Techdirt has an editorial staff. At least Techdirt has open comments so that anyone, including you, can make corrections. So instead of complaining why don't you correct something already?

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2013 @ 10:58pm

    Re:

    and, seriously, how does IV expect extortion to make them look good? They attempted to use extortion to get good coverage of themselves and, instead, it seems to have backfired and made them look worse.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2013 @ 2:29am

    IV is the lifeline

    Intellectual Ventures is a fantastic company:

    - They are sure to never leave the country, since their business depends on US laws.
    - Their jobs are completely independent of innovation in the physical world since their invention is a way to patch patents together to give lawyers agita.
    - Their taxbase is relatively easy to calculate since court records are open.

    For a politician these are some of the most important properties for a good tax base. Intellectual Ventures is an amazing success story about the american dream still existing. Trying to take that away from them is, well, p...piracy/treason/terrorism!

     

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

  14.  
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    Pragmatic, May 31st, 2013 @ 3:24am

    Re: This exposes

    ...says the man who won't accept factual information that contradicts his maximalist position on IPR.

     

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

  15.  
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    ahow628 (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 7:15am

    A little explanation...

    I had never really heard of (or understood) exactly what a declaratory judgment was until the story earlier about Aereo going after CBS after the CBS execs threatened to sue.

    Why wouldn't a company like Salesforce pursue a declaratory judgment here? Are those not used for patent cases? Seems like the perfect situation for one.

     

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

  16.  
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    Prashanth (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 7:26am

    They are excellent innovators...

    ...at convincing people who should know better that the lies they spew are the truth. Hmmm, maybe they should patent that too, and then perform more shakedowns!

     

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

  17.  
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    Steph Kennedy, IPTT (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 8:26am

    DJ

    Not all states allow for declaratory judgment hearings, I think is the issue.

    It's so sad when companies capitulate to this crap. SalesForce needs to have a convo with NewEgg, Rackspace, and Fark and figure out how to beat the trolls like they did.

    Just sayin',

    IPTT

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Time for an anonymous tip to Judge Otis Wright? I could really use some more Trekkie references and popcorn...

     

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

  19.  
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    radarmonkey (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 9:27am

    *facepalm*

    Just from the first 2 words of THE SUMMARY (which has gone uncorrected for 7 days), you know this Rachel King (and by extension, all of ZDNet) is blowing smoke out their ass!
    Summary: Intellectual Vendors, ...
    ??? WTF?!

     

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

  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: This exposes

    This exposes once again the problem of online "news" sources. You know, nobody on the internet knows you are a dog, and few people on the internet know that you are just a photocopier for press releases.


    Which just makes the internet exactly like the vast majority of non-internet news sources.

    The real problem is that there is almost no actual journalism being done in the US today. The internet is actually improving this state of affairs. Yes, most news on the internet is the same bullshit you get elsewhere -- but amongst the cruft you can find real, good journalism. This is only possible because the internet allows people to effectively distribute their reporting without having to rely on the Big Boys in news.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    bawk

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    bawk bawk

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    bawk bawk bawk

     

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


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