Crowdfunded Project Attempts To Unveil Intellectual Ventures' Hidden Web Of Patents
from the might-not-be-so-easy dept
An operation called IP Checkups -- a "patent analytics firm" -- is trying to shine some more light on IV's secret patent portfolio and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to investigate the company's patents.
We want to create a publicly-accessible database of patents owned by Intellectual Ventures and its shell companies. We also want to share our investigation with curious observers, using our online IV Thicket case files to show how we unearth Intellectual Ventures’ patent portfolio.They plan to identify all of the patents, then try to "unravel the complex web of Intellectual Ventures' shell companies and financial interests to see where Intellectual Ventures is holding its IP assets." Finally, they plan to reveal all of the information publicly. The company claims that it believes in the patent system, but that it believes that the market for patents needs to be more open and transparent.
I have no idea how effective this project might be, or how well they'll be able to track down the patents or untangle the shell companies. Attempts by others to do this (on more of an ad hoc basis) haven't worked out too well. They're seeking $80,000 for the project, which strikes me as both ambitious for a crowdfunded project and (at the same time) probably way too little money to accomplish the goal. If I were them, I would have started by already revealing a few key IV patents or questionable shell company relationships to first generate interest in going further -- but that, alone, could be difficult. Still, it will be interesting to see if they have any success in shining some light on the dark corners of IV's trolling operations.