While the Patent Troll Tracker remains darkened, the world at large is definitely missing out on some of the more useful information he provided on his blog, shedding all sorts of light on some of the sneakier practices of various patent hoarding companies, who were often shell companies to hide the real identity of who was behind the lawsuits. Without much information to fight back against these shell companies demanding millions and millions of dollars, various large tech companies seem to have seen an opportunity to team up to fight back. Joe Mullin
points out a new organization
that is basically an association of large tech companies to share information privately on some of the patent hoarding firms that pop up and sue all too often. Mullin has some fascinating background on the organization, which is actually spinning out of another firm that (of all things) was co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold (the guy some folks now accuse of creating a huge patent trolling organization on his own). That existing firm helps companies both big and small in their patent litigation strategies -- but this spinout organization will focus on larger companies facing shell companies that don't produce any products.
While I think it's a good thing that the companies who are often on the receiving end of questionable patent lawsuits are trying to combat the information asymmetry concerning these lawsuits, it's a bit worrisome that this perpetuates the stereotype that this is really a battle between "big companies" and "small inventors." That's a false dichotomy that opponents to patent reform like to set up, because no politician wants to be seen as going against the "small inventor." The truth is that there are all sorts of problems with the patent system, and big companies are some of the worst abusers of the system. Focusing merely on the non-practicing entities, rather than the overall problems with the patent system, may be a necessity these days, but it's merely dealing with a symptom, rather than treating the actual problem.