by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
links, patents

intellectual ventures

Intellectual Ventures Patents Showing Up In More And More Lawsuits

from the patently-absurd dept

As the press is still falling for the silly story that Intellectual Ventures is some sort of benevolent invention factory, it's worth remembering that the company has yet to actually invent anything that has come to market, and while it has avoided suing anyone directly, patents from IV are showing up in more and more lawsuits of dubious nature. We first saw a "former" IV patent show up in a lawsuit a year ago. Since then, we've also seen IV "sell" patents to some of its "customers" for use in lawsuits, such as with Verizon and Vlingo.

And now they're showing up even more. Joe Mullin points us to the news that a newly formed patent hoarding company, Oasis Research, which appears to be part of the patent hoarding operation set up by big name patent-attorney-turned-patent-hoarder, John Desmaris, has sued 16 companies, including AT&T, GoDaddy and IronMountain for infringing on a former IV patent having to do with "cloud" storage and online backup. The patents in question are 5,771,354; 5,901,228; 6,411,943; and 7,080,051.

Separately, someone contacted us recently, after receiving a threat from an operation called Webvention, who is using a former IV patent 5,251,294 to claim that that the way a website links to internal pages is patented. Seriously. In looking at the details, it looks like Intellectual Ventures sold off this patent last year, and it was just recently asserted against a big list of companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dell, E*Trade, gamestop, Niemen Marcus, Visa, UPS and others.
As you can see, the lawsuit itself is pretty damn vague, but it seems absolutely, patently ridiculous to suggest that the way in which you link to something on a website can violate someone's patent. When will this sort of insanity end?

Intellectual Ventures, in its standard level of absolute secrecy, won't say whether or not it has any financial stake in the outcome but earlier reports have claimed that the company sometimes will sell patents with an agreement that it gets some of any licensing revenue and/or judicial awards.

For all of Intellectual Ventures talk about not suing companies and actually being an invention factory, it's looking very much like the only thing it's unleashed on the world are some amazingly wasteful patent lawsuits on ridiculously over-broad patents that are creating serious waste in the market. And, even if the company really has no part in these lawsuits, it doesn't change the fact that it's adding to the list of ridiculous patent lawsuits by letting those kinds of patents get into the hands of people who file them.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    For a group of people who call themselves inventors, they sure have terribly stupid inventions. I am ashamed to think that there are real engineers working in that place. I would feel better if it was just a bunch of dumb-ass lawyers making this shit up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    For patent research on patent trolls see

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Speedy, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    Lawyers stretching the legal envelope for profit may be asses, but they are not dumb. They are part of a generation of Americans who's greed trumps any discussion of integrity and honesty. They along with the mortgage bankers who created mortgage bond derivatives add nothing to society. The lawyers damn up the wheels of business, innovation and entrepreneurship. They should be exposed so neighbors and friends know these bottom feeders. I'm ashamed of them and pray they all get at least what the deserve. History will record the last 4 years as the greatest theft of national treasury and private savings in the history of this country. Do not vote for any incumbent or attorney for public office, not even dog catcher. Fire the ones in office.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    "As the press is still falling for the silly story"

    I'm beginning to wonder whether you fall into the trap of insufficient cynicism or just needed a first sentence.

    Is "the press" totally uninformed and notably stupider than the general populace? ... Mmm, no. After decades of data, one is forced to conclude that "the press" is knowingly corrupt and actively promote whatever agenda they're told to: an agenda set by alliance of corporations and gov't to always move toward grabbing power. Since short-term personal interests always trump the diffuse general interests (the commonwealth), most reporters sell their souls to power.

    As to the topic: it's another tangle that can't be solved by reform at the margins, and as always, problem is Rich parasites looting what's left of productive society. If you haven't yet identified The Rich as the source of nearly all societal problems, you must be struggling to avoid that obvious conclusion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    They act like mercenaries. Mercenary companies sell byou the services of soldiers to fight your battles. IV sells you patents for your litigation needs. They are despicable people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    DK, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:17am

    It is nice to know that others are watching the development of IV's innovation of litigation. Below is a link to a Patently Obvious report by M┬ĚCAM that provides greater depth in to the validity of patents. It hilights prior innovations that the IV patents failed to cite. Here is a link to a report on the IV patents licensed to Vlingo

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Awggie (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Interviewed there.

    I had an interview with intellectual ventures a few years ago when i was in the job market. When i realized, halfway through it, what it was they did and what it was i'd be doing, i walked out the door. It was kind of creepy there, a lot of ultra-type-A's, very 'used-car-salesmen'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:56pm


    New innovative ways to litigate!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    biased reporting

    Oh, please. So IV buys a bunch of patents in bulk, sells off the ones they don't value to someone who does value them, and then gets blamed when the buyer sues? Nonsense! All suppositions with no facts to back them up. This isn't reporting, it's bashing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: biased reporting

    Hi there, IV shill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    HaterofTrolls, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:56pm

    Novartis Sues Webvention for Dec Relief

    Novartis strikes back at IV shell Webvention

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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