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.
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

Filed Under: links, patents
Companies: intellectual ventures


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


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

    Novartis Sues Webvention for Dec Relief

    Novartis strikes back at IV shell Webvention

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/37907581/Novartis-Cx-Ag-Web-Vent-Ion

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.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

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.