by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:

intellectual ventures, ocean tomo

More Patents That Have Touched Both Intellectual Ventures And Ocean Tomo Showing Up In Lawsuits

from the this-is-not-good dept

Last year, we noted that more and more patents previously held by Intellectual Ventures were showing up in lawsuits -- with rumors swirling that IV still got a cut of money collected on at least some of those patents. Then, in December, IV finally filed its first patent infringement lawsuits directly. However, more of its "former" patents are popping up in lawsuits as well. Joe Mullin has the details of yet another secretive shell patent holding company, called Pragmatus, that has some former IV patents and sued Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin last year, and now is suing basically all of the cable industry, claiming that its patents (5,581,479 and 5,636,139) cover the rather broad concept of video-on-demand.

What's equally interesting (and/or troubling, depending on your point of view) is that these patents also passed through Ocean Tomo, the favored tool of laundering patents by auctioning them off. For years, we've questioned the claims of Ocean Tomo that it's really just helping to establish a "market" to extract the value of patents. In reality, it seems that it's created a tool for putting a massive tollbooth on innovation, taking broad and useless patents (i.e., patents that really don't teach anything new or non-obvious at all) and putting them in the hands of lawyers who sue companies who actually innovate. It's worth noting that the patents that IV used in its own lawsuit last year also appeared to travel via Ocean Tomo (it appears that's what AUCTNYC8 really is).

Once again, the deeper you dig into these stories, you realize that it's really just a bunch of lawyers passing around patents to figure out who can sue companies who actually do stuff. This is why it's frustrating when the press falls for IV's ridiculous spin about how it's really inventing things. As far as we can tell, nothing "invented" at IV has hit the market in any meaningful way in its many years of existence. But a bunch of the patents that it has bought and sold over time are being asserted against a wide range of companies who actually do innovate. I'm really at a loss as to how anyone can look at this setup and claim the system is working. The system seems to simply be a way to extract money from companies that actually innovate and give it to a bunch of lawyers who think this is all a big game.

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  1. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 28 Jan 2011 @ 5:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So we have a lot of patents that are filed to cover generalities and probably never should have been granted in the first place... by people who don't actually do any innovation or creation with those patents... and now a market who's sole purpose is to trade those patents, patents who's only value at that point is in litigation... and you don't see a problem here?

    They patent a generality, don't do anything with it, and sue the first person who actually does the innovation. This is 'just the system at work'?

    You still fail to address the point that these people are engaging in this to use the system for exploitation rather than innovation. Go read the patent litigation around RIM and the Blackberry and tell me that the 'owner' of the patent was following what the system was supposed to do.

    I'm not calling the justice system a loophole... I'm saying that the ability to commercially transfer litigation rights of IP has created a loophole that is being exploited for financial gain.

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