Intellectual Ventures' Response To This American Life: Oh Those Crazy Reporters Don't Understand Disruption

from the that's-it? dept

Wow. I just came across Intellectual Ventures' almost entirely content-less "perspective" concerning the recent This American Life episode that compared Intellectual Ventures to an organized crime shakedown outfit, noting that the company appeared to be stockpiling questionable patents, which were then being used to sue companies that were actually innovating. Intellectual Ventures' execs were interviewed a few times for the story, including the hilarious clip (which I mentioned in our original post) in which one of its co-founders claimed he couldn't understand the USPTO's own website, and a PR person tried to shut down the interview. So, they had to expect what was coming. And you would think that they would have a response.

But they don't.

The entirety of the blog post can be summed up in IV basically saying "we're just too damn disruptive for those silly NPR reporters to understand us." But they don't refute or respond to a single allegation from the report. Instead, they just use the word "disrupt" (or disruptive/disruption/disrupting) five times in a short blog post. If they truly believe that it's just that their business is "disruptive," then they could perhaps explain why IV patents of extremely questionable quality are being used to pressure tons of companies into paying large sums of money. But... that goes ignored.

There's also this:
The recent story on “This American Life” dramatically portrays the point of view that patents have a negative impact on innovation. We at Intellectual Ventures fundamentally disagree with that notion, which flies in the face of centuries of evidence.
This is false. Dozens of studies on the history of the patent system have shown that patents have a negative impact on innovation. It's kind of funny that IV would claim otherwise. We've highlighted many of those studies in the past, and Bessen and Meurer have a whole book that discusses many of those studies. It seems that, once again, IV thinks that as long as it sticks to the party line it can get away with its shameful business practices.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

    Disruption

    Not all disruption is good - mostly it is bad.

    IV is very disruptive - but not in a good way!

     

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

  2.  
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    ken (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

    Our Current Patant and Copyright Systems are un-American

    There is nothing American about our current patent system. It destroys the pioneering spirit of ingenuity. Long patent terms stifle competition and give very little incentive to actually implement the invention.

    Our current patent system is a form of government protectionism and does not conform with our ideals of self-reliance, free markets, competition, and the limited role of government. Inventors do not need government protection to be successful. Inventors and entrepreneurs do not need to be a protected class. The thought of someone needing government protection as opposed to competing in a free market should offend the sensibilities of all free thinking Americans.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 6:36pm

    Could be worse, they could be trying to attack NPR on grounds of copyright infringement.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Disruption

    Agreed.They are disrupting the manufacturing sector of the US economy and making it flee the US jurisdiction and go to China. That is great for China. You can be sure that the Chinese government knows what is going on, and is in no hurry whatsoever for those silly Americans to come to their senses. Meanwhile, back in the USA, you get to suffer persistently high unemployment, an out-of-control budget deficit and a nearly dysfunctional political system. The American electorate is seething with anger. The Tea Party branch of the Republican Party is doing a fine job of reflecting the anger, so they do well electorally. However the Tea Party has no idea how to, nor any intention of, getting the USA out of the trouble it is in. Americans, things are not going to be so nice for you. Yep, that could be described as "disruptive".

     

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

  5.  
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    Kevin (PaxSkeptica) (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 7:30pm

    "...flies in the face of centuries of evidence."

    It's unfortunate that they can expect most readers to be so uncritical that they would accept a statement like that at face value, without any citation or additional proof.

    It's becoming something of a fallacy in its own right, this trope. Perhaps we should name it. The Argument from I Left My Evidence in My Other Coat's Pocket?

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 7:46pm

    Re:

    'We don't like what you said and you called us by name' style Trademark suit incoming?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 8:17pm

    You said: "Dozens of studies on the history of the patent system have shown that patents have a negative impact on innovation"

    Me: I always get a laugh out of this sort of comment. It's somewhere between somewhat dishonest and and collection of outright lies.

    Patents may limit "innovation by paint color" for a period of time, but none of the studies tends to consider if we got the idea together faster because of patents. Did the patent system provide the needed business environment to encourage research? Did the idea come along earlier because of it?

    If you look in very, very, very short term, yes, patents can stop the type of innovation that you are so fond of (added an MP3 player to that kitchen gadget and painted it blue!), but over the long run, we get bigger and better ideas faster with patents, and we also get parallel, non-competitive true innovation as other companies and individuals attempt to find other ways to accomplish the goal.

    Figures don't lie, but liars can figure. Those "reports" and "studies" all come from that sort of playing field.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Good old Intellectual Vultures.

     

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

  9.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re: Our Current Patant and Copyright Systems are un-American

    I agree.

    The one American idea that patents appeal to is this: Greed. Greed is at the heart of the "American dream" of starting with nothing and getting rich through those ideas you stated - and greed itself is not always bad, much good can come of it if properly managed and checked.

    Greed is the reason that even the hundreds of companies that are being actively harmed by patents still continue to support and defend the broken system. The irrational belief that if their company suddenly comes up with some new idea, that they can lock it up, prevent anyone else from using it, and make oodles of money.

    Incidentally, it is this same irrational belief that causes many of the poorest people in the country to support tax cuts for the rich, because one day they want to be one of those rich, even if it will certainly cost them more in their own taxes or cuts to services.

     

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

  10.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Our Current Patant and Copyright Systems are un-American

    It is also the reason there is a city in the middle of the Nevada desert and why welfare recipients will part with their cigarette money to buy lottery tickets.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:10pm

    Re:

    It's kind of funny how you resort to lying in your desperate rants about lying.

     

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

  12.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

    Re:

    Did the patent system provide the needed business environment to encourage research? Did the idea come along earlier because of it?

    A resounding NO on both accounts. People invent stuff/innovate because they need solutions to a problem. Easy as that.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

    Re:

    Bollocks. If you were talking any more shit, you'd be that German guy who gave an elephant an olive oil enema.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Disruption

    Lovely misuse of the term “disruption”. It’s supposed to mean “knocking established players out of their complacency”, not “stifling new players with new ideas”.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Re: none of the studies tends to consider if we got the idea together faster because of patents.

    Yes they do, and the answer is no.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Did the patent system provide the needed business environment to encourage research?

    No, it discouraged it.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Did the idea come along earlier because of it?

    It’s not about the idea, it’s about the implementation of the idea. And the answer is no.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 2:22am

    Re:

    Courtrooms aren't really hotbeds of innovation. And unless you consider various types of letterhead "innovative," NPE's aren't innovating shit.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 3:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Our Current Patant and Copyright Systems are un-American

    It is also the reason there is a city in the middle of the Nevada desert

    Nah - that is there because of the atomic bomb.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 3:53am

    Re:

    You said: "Dozens of studies on the history of the patent system have shown that patents have a negative impact on innovation"

    Me: I always get a laugh out of this sort of comment. It's somewhere between somewhat dishonest and and collection of outright lies.


    You've never studied any engineering history have you? You need to be completely ignorant to say that.

    Ask yourself why the US (where the aeroplane was - supposedly - invented) entered WW1 with no serviceable aircraft and had to buy them from europe. That piece of history, on its own, completely destroys your argument.

    It also shows why patents are ultimately bad news even for those that hold them.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 3:54am

    Re:

    Me: I always get a laugh out of this sort of comment. It's somewhere between somewhat dishonest and and collection of outright lies.

    Because I've never even read any on those studies - after all they can't possibly be right because they contradict my assumptions.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re:

    I couldn't help but notice that you did not cite a single, actual "study" or "report", probably because you cannot, and there are none. Nonetheless, you continue to spew meaningless drivel as if it were scientific fact, and expect others to take your word for it. FAIL!

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re:

    That's wrong. That's the same as saying the only time someone would invent something would be if they personally had a problem and had to invent a solution.

    If I can't make money inventing something that provides a solution for someone else...

    What exactly is my motivation to innovate?

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    To help your neighbor?

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's certainly a utopian notion, but it isn't really the way people seem to go about their lives.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe you should move.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 7:48am

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

    To?

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Intellectual Ventures

    Nothing intellectual about it

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    WysiWyg (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But patents, at least the way things are now, are hindering people from making profits from their inventions.

    Just look at the so called "patent-thicket" around smartphones; is anyone really depending on that to invent newer and better phones? Or does it mean that if you're not "big enough", then you will not be able to survive the "patent war"?

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 9:00am

    IV and patenting

    Good article. It would have been a great article if it had not been so biased.
    ALL defensive patents (the only type IV has) are bad; we all know that. I suspect IV knows it, but likes the money.
    ALL patents (indirectly quoting both sides in the argument) are:
    1. NOT defensive, and
    2. NOT bad or "disruptive".

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 30th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's wrong. That's the same as saying the only time someone would invent something would be if they personally had a problem and had to invent a solution.

    It doesn't have to be a personal problem - a shared problem will do. Or a problem where the fascination of solving it provides a motivation. In your universe no one would ever do crosswords, play chess or read detective novels.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    Quote:
    Wörgl was the site of the "Miracle of Wörgl" during the Great Depression. It was started on the 31st of July 1932 with the issuing of "Certified Compensation Bills", a form of currency commonly known as Stamp Scrip, or Freigeld. This was an application of the monetary theories of the economist Silvio Gesell by the town's then mayor, Michael Unterguggenberger.

    The experiment resulted in a growth in employment and meant that local government projects such as new houses, a reservoir , a ski jump and a bridge could all be completed, seeming to defy the depression in the rest of the country. Inflation and deflation are also reputed to have been non-existent for the duration of the experiment.

    Despite attracting great interest at the time, including from French Premier Edouard Daladier and the economist Irving Fisher, the "experiment" was terminated by the Austrian National Bank on the 1st September 1933 on the basis of the "Certified Compensation Bills" being a threat to the Bank's monopoly on printing money.

    In 2006 milestones were placed, beginning from the railroad station through the downtown, to show this history, on top of questioning the authenticity of never-ending exponential growth triggered by the compound interest.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worgl

    Other Sources:
    http://alt-money.tribe.net/thread/70e5eb29-853d-44ca-9faa-b789d1757037

    All this money hoarding by corporations can only result in one thing and that is bankruptcy, but this hoarding is now on a global scale which could bring serious problems when everybody is broke and no one can produce anything without being extorted by a small group of people who don't produce anything of real value.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

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

    Paradise City.

    Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Vic Kley, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    IV is an Insurance Company - Patents are Key to Progress and Innovation

    As usual masnick conflates the unconflateable. I don't know if IV is any of the things masnick and NPR seem to accuse them of being. In my expeerience they sell insurance against being sued and power to sue based on a large body of inventions in a given area to large corporations. This and IV have nothing to do with the value and importance of patents.

    What I do know is this in my life so far, I have used key and basic inventions (patents) to deliver new and important things including capabilities that DID NOT EXIST IN THE WORLD before I created them. In the process has been created some wealth and many good paying jobs.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 31st, 2011 @ 1:24am

    Re:I don't know if IV is any of the things masnick and NPR seem to accuse them of being.

    That’s why you should read and understand the arguments before trying to respond to them.

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    indieThing (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 4:47am

    Re: IV is an Insurance Company - Patents are Key to Progress and Innovation

    You may very well have done, but I've also introduced a few 'new things' to the world as well, and you know what, I did it totally without any patents :)

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    staff, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 8:07am

    rest

    "questionable patents"

    To you, all patents are questionable. That includes Edison's light bulb and the Wright Brothers airplane. Give it and us a rest.

    For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org.

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 1st, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If I can't make money inventing something that provides a solution for someone else...

    What exactly is my motivation to innovate?


    There's a ton of other motivations to innovate, but for the sake of argument, let's pretend that making money is always the prime driver.

    ...patents are not required to make money from inventing things. Bad patents (which are common, and include all software patents) make it less likely that you'll make money by inventing things because you're very likely to run afoul of a submarine patent somewhere and get destroyed in a lawsuit.

    I don't think patents as a conept are bad, by the way. I think they can be very good and can attain their stated purpose. I do think that how they are implemented in the US, however, is terrible and worse than no patent system at all.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    dwg, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Although this did lead to something good: patent pledges. Actually, let me qualify that--the patent pledge that this led to was a good one: the government forced the patent holders to agree not to sue each other so the US could build freakin' airplanes for war. Now that's eminent domain I can get behind.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    dwg, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: IV is an Insurance Company - Patents are Key to Progress and Innovation

    For example, you created an "e" in "conflatable" where none exists. I can see where wealth and jobs would follow.

    Dude, your spin has made me dizzy. "Insurance against being sued?" Who creates the largest threat of such potential suits? Oh yeah, trolls like IV. Any normal human can tell when a patent doesn't read on a new invention--only giant trolls have the resources to sue regardless.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    greg.fenton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:44pm

    Re: rest

    Thanks for the link!

    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@truereform.piausa.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.


    Apache/2.2.19 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.19 OpenSSL/0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 mod_bwlimited/1.4 mod_fcgid/2.3.6 Phusion_Passenger/3.0.7 Server at truereform.piausa.org Port 80

     

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


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