Intellectual Ventures Starts Political Action Committee; Clearly Worried That Serious Patent Reform Might Actually Happen This Time

from the not-really-panicking dept

As we noted last year, Intellectual Ventures started out insisting that it was a licensing company, not a patent troll. But it soon spoiled that story by filing more and more lawsuits, probably because it was running out of cash. A couple of weeks ago it laid off workers, too. But however rough things have been for Intellectual Ventures recently, they are likely to get a lot worse. That's because Congress looks like it might finally try to reform the patent system in a meaningful way that makes life harder for patent trolls. That's doubtless why Intellectual Ventures opened up a Washington DC office last year; and it also probably explains the following move, as reported in The Hill:

A company accused of being the world's largest "patent troll" is ramping up its presence in Washington by starting a political action committee that could contribute to campaigns.

Intellectual Ventures, which is one of the country's top patent owners but makes few of its own products, filed to organize the committee with the Federal Election Commission this week.
According to Ars Technica, the company has already been quite active on the lobbying front for a while:
For each of the past four years, Congressional lobbying records show that IV has spent about $1 million annually advocating to lawmakers in areas like patent policy and litigation reform. In 2007 and 2008, it spent around $900,000. Back in 2005, it spent $440,000.
Now we sit back and watch which politicians will suddenly discover serious doubts about the need for any of that patent reform nonsense....

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Eric (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Doubts?

    Now we sit back and watch which politicians will suddenly discover serious doubts about the need for any of that patent reform nonsense....

    Are they going to give those politicians jobs when they leave Congress? That's the big thing, isn't it?

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Sorry about your jobs, but we need the money to lobby congresmembers...

     

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

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Doubts?

    If they do, there is one small change for the politician, instead of asking for bribes to push through a law, they can demand money with menaces.

     

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

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 8:00am

    Oh, so now they've started to worry that going around and suing small companies over bullshit patents might have made them look bad enough to make people start questioning the system?

    Gee, whodathunk?

     

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

  5.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 8:05am

    A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

    Intellectual Vultures activities are the very definition of a patent troll. Hey, that's a nice business you've got there, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it. But you could buy my Patent Lawsuit Protection license.

    A patent licensing company *is* a patent trolling company. The very definition of such. Just as a copyright licensing company or "collection society" is a copyright troll (can you say Righthaven, Prenda, Voltage, etc).

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 8:17am

    "Thank you, Intellectual Ventures. Your money injection has helped me recover from my public interest infection."

     

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

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 8:31am

    Re: A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

    The government has basically taken the 'protection' that gangs provided in exchange for money and legalized it. Instead of having thugs use the threat of violence originating from them outside the law to enforce money being directed to them the government allows patent trolls to legally use the threat of violence originating from the government (governments enforce laws with violence) to enforce money being directed to them.

     

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

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 8:45am

    Conflict of Interest

    No such thing in Washington DC eh? All those well informed voters seem happy right?

     

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

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re: A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

    I disagree. You only become a "troll" if you pursue questionable patents (or copyrights) or pursue them in a questionable way.

    Prenda's a troll because they apparently set up a front company, lied about who was involved with what, stole someone's identity, could not properly identify the infringers, and abused the court system. If they had simply pursued a copyright action against someone who had actually infringed a copyright, they would not be a "troll".

    Similarly, Intellectual Ventures is only a troll because they have vague patents, bought a patent donated for public use and then sued based on it, have thousands of shell companies to hide their actions, etc. If they simply licensed - and sued based upon - solid patents, they would not be a troll.

     

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

  10.  
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    bshock, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 9:27am

    Nathan Myhrvold could improve the world significantly by leaving it.

     

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

  11.  
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    Alien Rebel (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Nickles Again.

    Another day, another bit of news relating to Intellectual Venture's #1 lobbyist, Sen. Don Nickles and his lobbying firm, the Nickles Group LLC. Yesterday it was MPAA; today it's IV. Tomorrow? Maybe it'll be fracking, payday lending, net neutrality, or pushing TPP on behalf of his big pharma, legacy entertainment, or telecom clients. Just an all around stand-up dude.

     

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

  12.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: A Patent Licensing company *IS* a Patent Troll

    Your premise, which I am skeptical of, is that such a thing exists as "solid patents".

    I believe there may have, at one time, been such a thing, but I am even somewhat skeptical about that.

    Regardless of the past, at present, if there are any "solid patents" they are vastly outnumbered by the ridiculous variety.

    Finally, Intellectual Vultures could not and would not ever be licensing "solid patents". If someone owned one of these hypothetical solid patents, they would be making use of it, licensing it, but not selling it to Intellectual Vultures.

     

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

  13.  
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    Chris Brand, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 10:56am

    Do IV do anything other than trolling ?

    "Intellectual Ventures [...] makes few of its own products"
    So they do actually make something, then ? I thought I'd read that they didn't.

     

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

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Do IV do anything other than trolling ?

    They make one thing...money'

     

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

  15.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Do IV do anything other than trolling ?

    So does the mafia. That does not mean it is a good thing.

     

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

  16.  
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    David, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Doubts?

    It's more like instead of asking for bribes to push through a law, he'll be asking for laws to push through a bribe.

     

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

  17.  
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    KevinEHayden (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Doubts?

    Nothing is going to change until you get serious about throwing the incumbents out and getting rid of the lobbyists.

    Sorry, I can't do much more than offer advice, as I'm not a US resident/citizen. You guys (the US population) need to organize yourselves (perhaps though groups like the 'OCCUPY'
    movement), and find a way to get rid of both the Democrat and Republican politicians.

    I know all of you think it requires lots of money, but there are ways to counter that now through use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. If a 3rd group or party were to present themselves as viable opponents to these incumbents with anti-lobbying and anti-patent platforms, maybe they would quickly get in line and actually worry about pleasing their constituents who they're supposed to be representing instead of the lobbyists.

    To all of you in the US, please stop spending so much time on beer, sports and entertainment, and take a good look at where your country is headed. If you don't put a stop to it now, you're all doomed to become slaves of the 'corporate elite'.

     

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

  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Doubts?

    "Nothing is going to change until you get serious about throwing the incumbents out and getting rid of the lobbyists"

    Even then, nothing will change until we fix the money problem.

    "there are ways to counter that now through use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook."

    Oh? Please enlighten us! Here's why the money is needed -- as soon as a decent candidate announces, he is subjected to a tidal wave of TV, radio, newspaper, etc., ads telling everyone how evil he is. Money is needed to put up the counterarguments. Countering through social media alone is completely futile in the face of that onslaught. It's essentially farting into the hurricane.

    "To all of you in the US, please stop spending so much time on beer, sports and entertainment, and take a good look at where your country is headed."

    Nice brush you have there. How did you find one that broad? For the record, the majority of the people here know exactly where our country is headed. And most of the people I know in real life are equally clued in.

    I think you don't understand what the real problems here are.

     

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

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 4:33pm

    Ronald J. Riley's not going to like this.

     

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


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