Nathan Myhrvold's Bait And Switch Plan On Patent Hoarding

from the can-you-say-greenmail? dept

We've written about Nathan Myhrvold's dangerous plans to put hundreds of millions of dollars into hoarding patents many times before. Business Week is now running yet another article that tries to get to the heart of Myhrvold's plans -- though his company, Intellectual Ventures is being quite secretive. The article does discuss his "invention sessions" where he brings together a bunch of smart folks to brainstorm -- where the whole conversation is recorded and monitored by patent lawyers looking for anything they can file patents on. However, what's much more interesting is the story of how Myhrvold pulled a total bait-and-switch on the many big tech companies who represent his investors. The original business plan for Intellectual Ventures was to create a "Patent Defense Fund." The idea was to buy up all the available patents from the bursting dot com bubble and offer to license it to companies to protect them from patent infringement lawsuits from others using the typical nuclear stockpiling defense. However, these days, the company no longer discusses the patent defense fund. Instead, it refers to many of its own investors as "the patent infringers lobby." As the article suggests, it seems like the company basically convinced these companies to fund it based on this "defense fund" plan, by making it clear if they didn't invest, they would be the first targets for future lawsuits. In the meantime, would you trust any company that insists the patent system is just fine -- but doesn't seem to understand the history of innovation? Update: In a move that can't make folks happy at either magazine, it appears Fortune has an almost identical article about Myhrvold coming out. The two articles are so similar, in fact, that it makes you wonder why the publicity tour is starting up now.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    angry dude, 26 Jun 2006 @ 11:36am

    techdirt's idiocy

    What is fucking wrong with you, people ?

    America's economic prosperity was built on thousands of patented inventions made by many many inventors, some were corporate workers, some worked in their garages or workshops.

    Why is all this bitching and moaning about patent system ? Patent systme is not broken, the underlying principle is sound, it's just the current implementation is poor and underfunded.
    Without IP rights you would live in a much different world, and for many of us (at least for those who can create something new, not just steal...) this IP-less world would be an absolute nightmare

    Don't buy into Mike's foolish anti-patent propaganda (which for some strange reason happens to have many common points with the BS coming out of the infringer's PR depts)

Add Your Comment

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.