Why Did Intellectual Ventures Sue Motorola Mobility... Even As Google Is An IV Investor?

from the oddities dept

PW points out one additional oddity in the announcement last week that Intellectual Ventures is suing Motorola Mobility for patent infringement: it's that Google is one of the investors in Intellectual Ventures -- meaning that it's supposedly immune from lawsuits from IV's portfolio. That leads to a number of open questions. Perhaps IV was trying to sneak the lawsuit in before the merger closes -- but that doesn't make much sense either. The merger is likely to close long before any lawsuit gets anywhere. And, at that point, wouldn't the lawsuit be moot, since Google supposedly should have access to IV's entire portfolio? Or is there trouble in paradise between IV and one of its own investors?

As you may have noted, Google has been a lot more aggressive lately, in talking about the problems of the patent system, and specifically of the way patents are being used to hurt innovation. The company has certainly indicated that it's interested in much more advanced patent reform to fix many of these problems. That's the kind of thing that could hurt IV. So, perhaps this is a "shot across the bow" of Google? An attempt to send a message to one of its own investors not to "rock the boat"? That's about the best I can figure, because the lawsuit doesn't seem to make much sense otherwise.

And, in the meantime, shouldn't this actually scare off others from signing one of IV's shakedown deals? If IV is willing to sue anyway, then what good are those deals?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    AdamR (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 9:40pm

    Maybe Nathan needs the cash so he can release a new set of cheaper cookbooks.

     

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      Jay (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 9:51pm

      Re:

      Whatever he's cooking, he might want to check that he hasn't aroused a dragon. If Google takes this up to the Supreme Court, he's going to need more than a few cookbooks to watch his money go to lawyers.

       

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        Pixelation, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

        Re: Re:

        "he's going to need more than a few cookbooks to watch his money go to lawyers"

        It's the lawyers pushing it most likely. Gravy train for them.

         

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    gojomo (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:30pm

    IV is smart. Their agreement with customers of their protection service, like Google, may specific procedures for how acquisitions are treated... and with the suit, IV manages to stake a claim at some higher rate than otherwise.

    Or, the agreement is silent, but IV thinks they have enough leverage to shake a payday from the traditional cash pot often set-aside, in a big acquisition, for clearing pending pre-acquisition disputes. It might even be the case that such disputes, once resolved, get deducted (up to a level a little like a deductible) from the prior MMI owner's payments. So Google may be indifferent to IV taking its pint of blood: they pay the same either way, and get MMI at the end... only the current MMI shareholders get bled.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:32am

      Re:

      Or, the agreement is silent, but IV thinks they have enough leverage to shake a payday from the traditional cash pot often set-aside, in a big acquisition, for clearing pending pre-acquisition disputes. It might even be the case that such disputes, once resolved, get deducted (up to a level a little like a deductible) from the prior MMI owner's payments. So Google may be indifferent to IV taking its pint of blood: they pay the same either way, and get MMI at the end... only the current MMI shareholders get bled.

      That might be the case. Of course, that makes this even shadier.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      It may also be that each company is still operating independently, and is working to accomplish it's own goals through business decisions (including legal action). There is no indication that these companies are colluding with each other.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:48pm

    Why would it be moot?

    And, at that point, wouldn't the lawsuit be moot, since Google supposedly should have access to IV's entire portfolio?
    If the point of the lawsuit is make money, then Motorola would still be on the hook for violations that occurred before the merger, wouldn't they?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:49pm

    Perfectly Simple Fix

    And all these sordid legal shenanigans are supposed to "promote the progress"? Please. Anybody who still believes that needs their head examined.

    There is one perfectly simple fix, get rid of the monopolies. With the government-granted monopoly privilege taken out of the patent system, then the rent-seekers lose interest. With no big payday on offer, then the lawyers go pester somebody else. They might even decide to do something useful with their lives, like helping the broken US justice system to work a bit better.

     

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    AdamR (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:52pm

    People like Nathan and the companies they run go by the motto your only as good as the next deal(extortion rack) you make, and Google would cut into that.

    Here are some reason

    With Big G's patent deal with IV and now Motorola Mobilty's patents IV is scared that Gooogle unwind the patent mess and give its hardware partners the edge they need in protecting themselves againt all the NPE's( Non Praticing Enity's) that wil / are going after them. IV has to be behind some of these shell companies.

    They are trying to protect Microsoft. Microsoft is making more money off Android than there own platform. Some of that cash has to find its way back to IV or its shell company's threw patent cross licensing.

    I find it funny that in Lodsys lawsuit they didn't go after any Microsoft app developers.

     

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    darryl, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:59pm

    Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

    Just because you pay taxes does not mean you are 'buying' an exemption from following the law.

    Just because you invest in a company (to protect your IP) does not mean you are exampt from the rules and laws you have invensted to uphold.

    If you dont like the rules, dont play the game.


    Mike, seems to think if you dont like the rules, you have a right to break them!!!!!!!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 11:11pm

      Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

      What is "invensted"? In English, please darryl. A bit of logical thought would be nice, too.

       

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        AdamR (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

        Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

        Darryl's mind is so clouded and cross wired that NZT would not provide clarity or orginal thought.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:13am

        Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

        What does "singing one of IV's shakedown deals" sound like?

        Does it sound like the usual illogical FUD out of Masnick's mouth?

         

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      Andrew F (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 11:37pm

      Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

      Darryl, if I pay (all of) my taxes, the government can't go after me for tax evasion.

      Likewise, if Google pays Intellectual Ventures not to sue, and they sue anyway, something's rotten in the state of Denmark.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:55am

        Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

        Google does not pay IV NOT TO SUE, they pay them to uphold IP.

        It is not a "dont sue me" bribe, Google has invested in IV because it affords them protection for their IP.

        Again, it is not 'permission' for them not to be required to uphold the laws regarding IP.

        Therefore, if you want to play the game, expect to have to play by the rules of the game. You pay the money (in this case TO PLAY THE GAME), you do not pay the money to WIN the game..

        That would be cheeting, cheeting that I think is Mike's idea how things actually work.

        You pay your money to play the game, the game is to protect your IP, you pay a company that "protects all investors IP" being an investor in IV does not mean you are now exempt from the laws and rules that were and are the reason you invested in them in the first place.

        You pay taxes and those taxes pay the police, because you pay taxes does not mean you do not have live by the laws that the police have to enforce.

        How many people have tried that and FAILED ?? "I pay your wages" SO FREAKING WHAT, you paid him to do his job, too bad that job is arresting you !!!..

        You guys cant work that out ???? really !!!!! REALLY !!!!

        "I paid the Goverment millions of dollars for a broadcast license,,, and now that SAME Government is telling what I can and cannot transmit !!!"

        Welcome to the real world !!!

         

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          Dave, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

          Google does not pay IV NOT TO SUE, they pay them to uphold IP.
          Yes! The fearless team at IV! They alone can hold back the flood of patent infringement! That sounds a lot more noble than the reality.

          IV: Nice company you have there. It'd be a shame if something were to 'happen' to it.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 11:55pm

      Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

      As usual Darryl, your complete inability to comprehend anything you are trying to discuss makes your comment unintelligible.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:34am

      Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

      Just because you pay taxes does not mean you are 'buying' an exemption from following the law.


      Indeed. But IV's direct pitch to companies was that investing in them made you exempt. So... er... you are wrong. Again.

      Just because you invest in a company (to protect your IP) does not mean you are exampt from the rules and laws you have invensted to uphold.

      Normally true. In this case, not true.

      If you dont like the rules, dont play the game.


      If you don't know the facts that are out there, might be best to keep quiet.

      Mike, seems to think if you dont like the rules, you have a right to break them!!!!!!!


      Darryl seems to think that if you don't know wtf you're talking about, you can just make it up.

       

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        darryl, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:01am

        Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

        Made you exempt from WHAT ??? IP theft or prosecution for IP theft ?

        Care to elaborate ? I think that IV would have have advertised their services as a form of "protection racket" do you ?

        "Pay us and there will be NO PROBLEMS, RIGHT !!!!.... there's a good boy"

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

          "Would NOT have advertised their services as a form of "protection Racket" do you ?

           

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          E. Zachary Knight (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

          The perk of signing with IV is that you get access to all the patents IV has control of in a massive cross licensing deal. That is what we are talking about.

          Google signs with IV, tosses a few patents into the mix as part of the deal. In return, Google gets to use any of the other patents under the IV umbrella in its own products.

           

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            darryl, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

            I do not think it would be "all" the patents IV has but what you agreed to from their pool in 'repayment' for your level of investment.

            So it is not as Mike would have you belive a form of "protection racket", where you pay your money and are free from presecution, or able to breach your own rules.

            It is simply a 'co-op' where you pool patents and collectively benefit from your input.

            A co-op does not give you the rights to everyone elses product be it milk or IP, but it gives you are share in the total benefit of everyones input.

            Because you are in a co-op does not mean you have been given permission to steal the milk from the farmer next door, (who happens to be in the same co-op).

            Why Mike tries to distort these issues is clear, but does little for his 'reputation'.

             

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              E. Zachary Knight (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

              So what is the point of joining then? If it is not to get access to all the other patents in the pool, what is the draw? I really don't see it.

               

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                darryl, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

                It is to get access to SOME of the patents in the pool, proportinate to the level of your investment and your input to the pool.

                "SOME" and "ALL" are the keywords here, are you saying if I invested $500 in IV then I would have the same free use to all the IV patents as Google does ? (who probably invested considerably more than $500) ????

                The POINT of joining them, then is to gain access to specific IP that you need for the products you intend to develop (legally).

                Does anyone here actually KNOW anything about finance, business, patents, IP or related subjects ?

                This is exactly why I am often questioning the level of education of alot of people commenting here especially Mike, your annointed leader....

                Do you know what a co-operative is ? or how they function ?

                 

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                darryl, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

                It is to get access to SOME of the patents in the pool, proportinate to the level of your investment and your input to the pool.

                "SOME" and "ALL" are the keywords here, are you saying if I invested $500 in IV then I would have the same free use to all the IV patents as Google does ? (who probably invested considerably more than $500) ????

                The POINT of joining them, then is to gain access to specific IP that you need for the products you intend to develop (legally).

                Does anyone here actually KNOW anything about finance, business, patents, IP or related subjects ?

                This is exactly why I am often questioning the level of education of alot of people commenting here especially Mike, your annointed leader....

                Do you know what a co-operative is ? or how they function ?

                 

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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

                  "SOME" and "ALL" are the keywords here, are you saying if I invested $500 in IV then I would have the same free use to all the IV patents as Google does ? (who probably invested considerably more than $500) ????

                  You can't invest $500 in IV. It doesn't work that way. You pay a fee to protection across the board.

                  Does anyone here actually KNOW anything about finance, business, patents, IP or related subjects ?


                  Yes, actually. And it's not you.

                  Do you know what a co-operative is ? or how they function ?


                  I do. But IV is not a co-op.

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

              Darryl, please stop embarrassing yourself. You have no idea what you are rambling about.

               

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

              I do not think it would be "all" the patents IV has but what you agreed to from their pool in 'repayment' for your level of investment.

              So it is not as Mike would have you belive a form of "protection racket", where you pay your money and are free from presecution, or able to breach your own rules.

              It is simply a 'co-op' where you pool patents and collectively benefit from your input.


              Darryl, you are wrong. Please. Stop digging.

              IV is not a patent pooling co-op.

              Why Mike tries to distort these issues is clear, but does little for his 'reputation'.


              Now this is funny. Only one of us is distorting things. And trust me, it's not me.

               

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                darryl, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

                IV is not a patent pooling co-op.

                Why dont you explain WHAT THE FUCK IT IS THEN ???

                Oh thats right, we know why...


                "Darryl, you are wrong".

                WOW what a well thought out, strong and congent argument you present here Mike, !!!!! we are ALL SO IMPRESSED !!..

                Must of taken you HOURS for you to formulate that well thought out response the accurately addresses the points and issues !!

                People have to dig with you mike, because you dont ever tell the full story, or ANY of the story, you cherry pick and rant, you present NO ARGUMENTS, and when people explain why you look stupid in doing that you come back with a simple one line saying "you are wrong".

                Mike Mike Mike, you are not very good at this are you !!!

                Then again, we all know well enough now what your motives are, and why you say what you say, regardless of the truth or accuracy of your statements.

                Your reputation is not at steak here, it is allready trash,

                Mike you are the "King of the shits" but you are also the "shit of the kings"... one day you might understand what that means, (once someone explains it to you)....

                Not even me or Dark Hamlet would just come here and say "you are wrong" and leave it at that..

                You say that in your role of 'King of the Shits'........

                 

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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:09pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

                  IV is not a patent pooling co-op.

                  Why dont you explain WHAT THE FUCK IT IS THEN ???

                  Oh thats right, we know why...


                  A patent pooling co-op is where the participants pool their own patents. IV's investors, like Google, are not contributing their own patents to IV's patent list. They're merely paying to get immunity from IV and to be able to use IV's patent collection in lawsuits against others.

                  WOW what a well thought out, strong and congent argument you present here Mike, !!!!! we are ALL SO IMPRESSED !!..

                  I explained why you were wrong.

                  People have to dig with you mike, because you dont ever tell the full story, or ANY of the story, you cherry pick and rant, you present NO ARGUMENTS, and when people explain why you look stupid in doing that you come back with a simple one line saying "you are wrong".

                  Who has to "dig" with me?

                  Your reputation is not at steak here, it is allready trash,


                  Do you have any A-1 sauce?

                   

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                  Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 6:54am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

                  "Not even me or Dark Hamlet would just come here and say "you are wrong" and leave it at that.."

                  Darryl...............you are wrong.

                   

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        darryl, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:22am

        Re: Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

        Who is making things up ? what have I said that you feel 'is made up' ?

        Why don't you post an article, with the headline

        Police office arrests taxpayer !!!

        Makes just as much sense as the crap you write Mike, at least you are 'supposed' to make some actual POINT, but you make no point but complain and whine bitterly about it anyway

        It is like you have some pavlovian reflex action when you hear the terms "copyright' IP, IV and so on, you start to drool and type. It appears logic then goes out the window, and away you go...

         

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      Mr Big Content, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:43am

      Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

      You hit the nail right on the head, boy! People donít realize that, as a shareholder, Google stands to gain from all IV lawsuits, including ones against itself. Some people just donít understand basic economics. This is big-boy stuff, involving big companies with serious money. You canít simply calculate their moves with the same ordinary numbers we use in our ordinary lives.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:08am

      Re: Dont like the rules, dont play the game.

      Get swype or a voice recognition program :)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28k3nskKD3U

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:46am

    Sounds like a great way to deter people from trying to buy Motorola Mobility from under Google...

     

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    Trails (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:10am

    La la la la, pay us royalties!

    It sure would keep me from singing one of IV's deals!

    But you'd have to imagine that's a pretty poorly worded song.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:51am

    Intellectual property just keeps getting scarier LoL

    http://www.uvvu.com/what-is-uv.php

    Anybody remembers Ultraviolet?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UltraViolet_%28system%29

    Wikipedia calls it:

    UltraViolet (UV) is a digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows consumers of digital home entertainment content to stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices.[1][2] UltraViolet adheres to a 'buy once, play anywhere' approach that allows users to store digital proof-of-purchases under one account to enable playback of content that is platform- and point-of-sale-agnostic.


    Now what it doesn't say there is that, it is also a database of everything you ever did with your media, they can see where it is going, where it is played, when it was paused and restarted, because the damn thing needs to connect to the server to make the authentication.

    And by the latests patents being filed, one can only wonder if after a "free period" people will need to pay for "per view" or/and "per location" basis.

    By the way Google is part of that consortium.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:56am

    Did anybody knew that Google has a DRM scheme too?

    http://gigaom.com/video/google-widevine-acquisition/

     

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    aikiwolfie, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Starting to make sense of why Microsoft won't go after Google directly for Android's supposed infringement of it's patents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 6:07am

    The distinction worth making in this case is that IV is not a singular entity. IV itself is dozens, if not hundreds of companies and shell companies, without a single consolidated tax filing.†

    This in and of itself makes IV in violation of DoJ's anticompetitive patent pooling laws in "Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property."

    The collusion and price fixing and upbidding of intellectual property in this case happens within IV's own network (of companies "called" IV) and those excluded, or excluded because they did not invest, face restraint of trade.†

    Pay a little, or pay a lot, either way, you have to pay.†

     

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


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