New Bubble? Investing In Lawsuits

from the how-very-american dept

It’s depressing, though perhaps not too surprising, to see how many readers have been sending in the NY Times story from this week about how some investors are dumping their money into lawsuits, with the idea of taking a piece of the profits. The article notes that a growing number of investors are doing this and that some see it as a “good investment during a recession” — especially as various class action lawsuits have been springing up by people upset with the financial collapse and looking for parties to blame. Can you imagine investors who funded the real estate bubble now investing in the lawsuits over who’s to blame for that bubble?

Of course, in many ways, many of the patent lawsuits by “non-practicing entities” (or as many prefer, “patent trolls”) are exactly this as well. NTP, the company that stung RIM for $612.6 million over patents that the US PTO said were invalid was really just a bunch of investors, who all got to share in the “winnings,” some of which they’re now investing in more patent lawsuits. While the theory may be good, the problem is that it encourages bad lawsuits. One would hope that such investments wouldn’t encourage such bad lawsuits because investors would rather invest in lawsuits that have a strong foundation, but that isn’t always what we see. Since so much of these sorts of lawsuits (and certainly various class action lawsuits) feel like something of a crap shoot, what you end up getting is a case where these “investors” are better off “diversifying” across a bunch of questionable lawsuits, in the hopes that a few hit homeruns and pay off big time.

Filed Under: ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “New Bubble? Investing In Lawsuits”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

The Force Is not with Them

AIPLA statistics show that 80% of all plaintiffs filing suits lose. It would seem that the odds of getting anything is not particularly good, unless they are counting on a quick settlement. I also wonder whether the odds are changing with recent landmark court cases such as KSR v. Teleflex and In Re Bilski?

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Suits not frivolous.

Patent lawsuits are very expensive. No one files frivolous patent lawsuits.

Big companies are really complaining about lawsuits which have merit. They steal, get caught, and face large judgments because their theft is on a very large scale.

The companies doing most complaining are losing one lawsuit after another. They have much more money than any inventor and yet with that huge litigation advantage they still lose.

What does that tell you about their conduct?

RIM is a perfect example of this. They lost big. They appealed all the way to the Supreme Court and lost at every stage. The reason is simple, they lost because they were wrong. They lost because they were caught foisting manufactured evidence on the court. They lost because they tried to use political influence to sway the court.

When all that failed a massive PR campaign was used to distract people from the real reason RIM lost.

Virtually every member of the Coalition for Patent Fairness is guilty of the same sort of conduct.

Returning to the issue of costs. Small businesses are not being sued for patent infringement because it is not economical to sue for any infringement less than ten million dollars. In most cases it is not economical to sue unless the value of infringement is a hundred-million or more.

Any business with that kind of infringement is hardly small.

Why is TechDIRT being used to shill for companies stealing more than a hundred million dollars? Are they speaking on behalf of small business or on behalf of rather large businesses?

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
President – – RJR at
Executive Director – – RJR at
Senior Fellow –
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 – (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

staff1 (profile) says:


“NTP, the company that stung RIM for $612.6 million over patents that the US PTO said were invalid was really just a bunch of investors, who all got to share in the “winnings,”

you’re lost in a fog as usual. NTP backed the inventor who otherwise had no chance of benefiting from his invention. big corporate thieves don’t like that…and neither do you. coincidence?

Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay”.

please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...