Intellectual Ventures Starts Political Action Committee; Clearly Worried That Serious Patent Reform Might Actually Happen This Time

from the not-really-panicking dept

As we noted last year, Intellectual Ventures started out insisting that it was a licensing company, not a patent troll. But it soon spoiled that story by filing more and more lawsuits, probably because it was running out of cash. A couple of weeks ago it laid off workers, too. But however rough things have been for Intellectual Ventures recently, they are likely to get a lot worse. That’s because Congress looks like it might finally try to reform the patent system in a meaningful way that makes life harder for patent trolls. That’s doubtless why Intellectual Ventures opened up a Washington DC office last year; and it also probably explains the following move, as reported in The Hill:

A company accused of being the world’s largest “patent troll” is ramping up its presence in Washington by starting a political action committee that could contribute to campaigns.

Intellectual Ventures, which is one of the country’s top patent owners but makes few of its own products, filed to organize the committee with the Federal Election Commission this week.

According to Ars Technica, the company has already been quite active on the lobbying front for a while:

For each of the past four years, Congressional lobbying records show that IV has spent about $1 million annually advocating to lawmakers in areas like patent policy and litigation reform. In 2007 and 2008, it spent around $900,000. Back in 2005, it spent $440,000.

Now we sit back and watch which politicians will suddenly discover serious doubts about the need for any of that patent reform nonsense….

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Comments on “Intellectual Ventures Starts Political Action Committee; Clearly Worried That Serious Patent Reform Might Actually Happen This Time”

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19 Comments
KevinEHayden (profile) says:

Re: Re: Doubts?

Nothing is going to change until you get serious about throwing the incumbents out and getting rid of the lobbyists.

Sorry, I can’t do much more than offer advice, as I’m not a US resident/citizen. You guys (the US population) need to organize yourselves (perhaps though groups like the ‘OCCUPY’
movement), and find a way to get rid of both the Democrat and Republican politicians.

I know all of you think it requires lots of money, but there are ways to counter that now through use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. If a 3rd group or party were to present themselves as viable opponents to these incumbents with anti-lobbying and anti-patent platforms, maybe they would quickly get in line and actually worry about pleasing their constituents who they’re supposed to be representing instead of the lobbyists.

To all of you in the US, please stop spending so much time on beer, sports and entertainment, and take a good look at where your country is headed. If you don’t put a stop to it now, you’re all doomed to become slaves of the ‘corporate elite’.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Doubts?

“Nothing is going to change until you get serious about throwing the incumbents out and getting rid of the lobbyists”

Even then, nothing will change until we fix the money problem.

“there are ways to counter that now through use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.”

Oh? Please enlighten us! Here’s why the money is needed — as soon as a decent candidate announces, he is subjected to a tidal wave of TV, radio, newspaper, etc., ads telling everyone how evil he is. Money is needed to put up the counterarguments. Countering through social media alone is completely futile in the face of that onslaught. It’s essentially farting into the hurricane.

“To all of you in the US, please stop spending so much time on beer, sports and entertainment, and take a good look at where your country is headed.”

Nice brush you have there. How did you find one that broad? For the record, the majority of the people here know exactly where our country is headed. And most of the people I know in real life are equally clued in.

I think you don’t understand what the real problems here are.

DannyB (profile) says:

A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

Intellectual Vultures activities are the very definition of a patent troll. Hey, that’s a nice business you’ve got there, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it. But you could buy my Patent Lawsuit Protection license.

A patent licensing company *is* a patent trolling company. The very definition of such. Just as a copyright licensing company or “collection society” is a copyright troll (can you say Righthaven, Prenda, Voltage, etc).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

The government has basically taken the ‘protection’ that gangs provided in exchange for money and legalized it. Instead of having thugs use the threat of violence originating from them outside the law to enforce money being directed to them the government allows patent trolls to legally use the threat of violence originating from the government (governments enforce laws with violence) to enforce money being directed to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

I disagree. You only become a “troll” if you pursue questionable patents (or copyrights) or pursue them in a questionable way.

Prenda’s a troll because they apparently set up a front company, lied about who was involved with what, stole someone’s identity, could not properly identify the infringers, and abused the court system. If they had simply pursued a copyright action against someone who had actually infringed a copyright, they would not be a “troll”.

Similarly, Intellectual Ventures is only a troll because they have vague patents, bought a patent donated for public use and then sued based on it, have thousands of shell companies to hide their actions, etc. If they simply licensed – and sued based upon – solid patents, they would not be a troll.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

Your premise, which I am skeptical of, is that such a thing exists as “solid patents”.

I believe there may have, at one time, been such a thing, but I am even somewhat skeptical about that.

Regardless of the past, at present, if there are any “solid patents” they are vastly outnumbered by the ridiculous variety.

Finally, Intellectual Vultures could not and would not ever be licensing “solid patents”. If someone owned one of these hypothetical solid patents, they would be making use of it, licensing it, but not selling it to Intellectual Vultures.

Alien Rebel (profile) says:

Nickles Again.

Another day, another bit of news relating to Intellectual Venture’s #1 lobbyist, Sen. Don Nickles and his lobbying firm, the Nickles Group LLC. Yesterday it was MPAA; today it’s IV. Tomorrow? Maybe it’ll be fracking, payday lending, net neutrality, or pushing TPP on behalf of his big pharma, legacy entertainment, or telecom clients. Just an all around stand-up dude.

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