Commerce One Patents Go For $15.5 Million — Everyone Waits For The Shakedown

from the wonderful dept

Last month, we mentioned that today was the day when Commerce One’s very, very broad patents would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Many feared that whoever won would start a patent shakedown scheme, basically holding up all kinds of e-commerce and business-to-business transactions with these broad patents. Among those expected to bid was Nathan Mhyrvold’s Intellectual Ventures — a company that looks to take patent hoarding to new heights. Apparently Intellectual Ventures bid high, but not high enough. The winning bid went to a secretive company named J-G-R Acquisitions for a cool $15.5 million. At this point, it’s unclear what they’re going to do with these patents, but it seems likely that plenty of companies will be hearing from them shortly. Once again, it’s not at all clear how this encourages innovation. It seems to discourage innovation by making companies who are actually doing something (without any knowledge learned from these patents) have to pay up or stop innovating. That’s discouraging innovation.

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Comments on “Commerce One Patents Go For $15.5 Million — Everyone Waits For The Shakedown”

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Boilerbob says:

The root of the problem

Just to be clear, I believe the root of the problem has nothing to do with the sale of patents. That’s what patents are indeeded to do, provide legal protection from getting your ideas ripped off. If you can make more money by selling then producing, that’s great. Your innovation has paid off.

The real problem is that these patents are awarded in the first place. There vague and obvious. Plus many of the e-commerce patents I’ve seen are taking offline business practices and automating them. That’s not very interesting or innovative.

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