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.