Intellectual Ventures Responds To This American Life & President Obama By... Filing More Patent Lawsuits
from the how-do-these-guys-live-with-themselves? dept
So how did Intellectual Ventures respond? By filing patent infringement lawsuits. Yes, basically, a big "F*** you" to those concerns. At this point, they seem to just be laughing at everyone as they rake in the cash from threatening businesses who don't pay up. Apparently, a few billion dollars paves over any conscience pretty easily.
And, yes, IV did also release a laughable "statement" about the This American Life episode, in which the company tries (as it normally does) to brush off the issues raised in the report, with the basic summary being, "Hey, this is how business gets done." But they're not being fully honest here. Let's just pick off a few points.
- Oasis Research is an independent company who purchased patent assets from IV.
- Oasis Research is not a holding company that IV owns, controls or manages.
- Oasis Research is not a company doing business at IV’s direction.
IV’s acquisition entities (what others refer to as “shell companies”) are holding companies that hold our assets – they are not vehicles for our litigations. Since that part of our business continues to confuse people and generate speculation, we wrote about it at length here last December.No. The first sentence would be a lot more accurate if it said "hide our assets" instead of "hold our assets" because that's what's really going on. Whether or not they're vehicles for litigation is really not that important. Especially when you can "sell off" (*cough cough* *nudge nudge* *wink wink*) the patents to a "third party" shell company in which 90% of the profits go right back into your coffers.
As for the inference that we sold Oasis low-quality assets – IV has no business interest in buying, litigating or selling assets that are going to be found invalid. Our business depends on owning and monetizing high-quality assets.Again, this is not true. Their business depends on buying low value assets but then convincing others that they're high value assets -- sometimes by bundling them with so many other low value assets that the "threat" of that giant bundle makes it make sense to pay off IV not to sue them. Whether or not the patents are actually low value or high value is immaterial to IV so long as it can make more money off of it in the long term. And... it just so happens that they can buy low value patents for much cheaper, and then bundle them and make much bigger margins.
This attention to quality has been validated by some of the world’s largest technology companies who are our customers, licensees, and, in some cases, investors. In the intellectual property industry, we are recognized for our market leadership and for creating a portfolio that stands above the rest.Again, I'd argue that's a rather charitable rewriting of history, especially as many of the "world's largest technology companies" that IV speaks about felt that IV pulled a bait and switch to get them to invest in the first place, promising that the focus was on creating a "patent defense fund" to protect companies from trolls, not to create the world's largest troll. And, many of those same companies who paid up felt like they had to in order to avoid getting sued -- which is the whole basis of any trolling operation. They didn't buy in because of the "high value" of the patents, but because it was cheaper to buy in than get sued. Many of those same companies seem quite happy to talk off the record about how much they hate IV and how they felt completely shaken down by IV.
Intellectual Ventures keeps trying to present itself as something that it's not. But almost no one believes it.