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Intellectual Ventures Aims To Tax Wind Power Producers With New Batch Of Patents

from the because-patent-trollery-is-designed-to-tax-innovation dept

Wind Power Monthly (I had no idea such a thing existed) has an article about how Intellectual Ventures is apparently targeting its patent trollery towards wind power, having filed a bunch of patents on very broad and basic concepts related to wind power. Of course, IV is trying to hide its involvement here by using one of its many shell companies. For reasons that are beyond me, Wind Power Monthly declines to name the shell companies. It's not clear why it does this -- even withholding the name after it got IV to confirm that it's an IV shell. There seems to be no journalistic reason for withholding the name, but Wind Power Monthly still does it.
Asked about the IV holding company, a spokesperson confirmed its relationship and added: "Intellectual Ventures does file some patents invented during sessions held by its in-house invention group... under the holding company [name withheld] to help maintain its patent portfolio."
The report further warns that patent trolls appear to be on the lookout to buy up other broad, wind power-related patents on the cheap as this particular market is expanding.
Second or third-tier wind manufacturers may be most exposed to trolls, especially as wind patents are currently relatively cheap, as they are during any downturn. Such manufacturers are a worthwhile target financially, may not have a robust IP strategy, and are far more likely to settle rather than fight in court.
Of course, right now we should be helping to speed up the adoption of alternative energy sources like wind power, but these patent trolling activities do the exact opposite, they make it more expensive. Notice that the article doesn't talk about any of these methods actually advancing the pace of innovation in the field, mostly because they don't. These aren't companies with experience building or managing wind power systems. These aren't experiences learned in the field. They appear to be pure trolling techniques designed to put a toll on the companies actually innovating in the field.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:15pm

    Prior art from somewhere between 1900 years ago to as much as 3800 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windmill

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    Ah, but that doesn't include the specific chipset technology that transforms general ideas into super complex legalese.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Michael, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Intellectual Ventures Cuts Wind

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:23pm

    Cashin' in

    Makes one wonder how they will term ongoing royalties. In $/gusts?

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Why do I think Intellectual Ventures patent model is to see what technology invented by others is not patented, so that they can patent it themselves?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Michael, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Intellectual Ventures (IV) of Bellevue, Washington has quietly applied for at least five high-quality and widely applicable patents for reducing noise and birds strikes at utility-scale wind projects

    These patents are for the birds.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Michael, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    I'm pretty sure that is actually in their mission statement.

     

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

  8.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    They don't care if it's patented already since they can still get a patent on the same thing if they change a few words around in the description that no one skilled in the art the patent covers could understand anyway.

     

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  9.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    I both hate and respect you for that.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:46pm

    Why am I reminded of Xerxes ordering the Sea to be Whipped...

    ... for not obeying his commands?

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    Don Quixote, is that you?

    These are no mere windmill patents!

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 12:58pm

    I hear they're going to charge bean makers for the wind effect brought on afterwards.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    And I had hoped they wouldn't catch wind of it. Oh dear.

     

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

  14.  
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    DannyB (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 2:00pm

    Withholding name of Intellectual Vultures shell company

    Q. Why would Wind Power Monthly withhold the name of the shell company that belongs to Intellectual Vultures?

    A. Because when you're dealing with crazy people, you try not to get sued.

     

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  15.  
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    DannyB (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    Intellectual Vultures breaks wind on new patent extortion project.

     

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

  16.  
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    DannyB (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    XKCD

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Withholding name of Intellectual Vultures shell company

    The linked article says:

    "The holding company in question is not obviously associated with IV, which could give IV a strategic advantage and avoid patent prices being hiked because of its financial strength."

    So they are duping patent holders and still actively buying patents and striking deals with existing holders in this field as well as concurrently filing their own.

    Gotta also love:

    "the [IV holding co's] inventors – some of whom used to work for a major US government laboratory".

    Career advice to self for next reincarnation: "Do taxpayer funded research, retire or leave, cha-ching-ching-ching with all those ideas I kept to myself"

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    Re:

    Intellectual Vultures Tilts At Windmills

     

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

  19.  
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    Alien Rebel (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 3:20pm

    Smell a Rat, . . Surprise, a Rat.

    Former Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) and the Nickles Group LLC (the maintenance crew behind the Copyright Alliance), being lobbyists for Intellectual Ventures, are probably very busy people these days. Aside from Don Nickles being on COMCAST'S Time Warner merger strategy team, (NYT, Feb. 20, 2014) his track record probably puts him close to the center of the action with IV's trolling of wind energy: long-time supporter and lobbyist for oil and gas, a fan of ending tax breaks for wind energy; lobbyist for COMCAST and Koch industries, and former(?) co-chair of the COMPETE COALITION. (Public Citizen has an archived article with less-than-nice things to say about them)- Energy Corporations With Record of Cheating Consumers Form New Lobbying Group to Influence Energy Policy. March 25, 2005.

    Oh yeah, former USTR Ron Kirk, pusher of ACTA and TPP, was also a co-chair of COMPETE. Kirk Cutting Close on Lobbying. POLITICO, Jan. 28, 2009.

    How far do these sewer pipes go, anyway?

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 3:45pm

    The answer to your question is, all the way to the top. In any pond, the scum always floats to the top.

     

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

  21.  
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    Jon Jones (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

    You think Wind Power Monthly is strange, you really should check-out the Portable Restroom Operator Magazine or even the Miniature Donkey Talk Magazine which claims to have "AT LEAST 4 times greater distribution than ANY miniature donkey publication" Why these things exist? I have no idea, but I'm happy that they do.

     

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

  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 14th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    Re:

    Something I was taught years ago when I began writing magazine articles is that if there is a specialty or subculture, there is at least one magazine devoted to it. It's less true now than it used to be (unless you count websites as magazines), but there's still a huge variety of unusual, very specialized publications.

    This was useful and important for me to know because those publications are a writer's dream -- they have a voracious need for content, they have a very well-defined audience, and they usually have a very distinctive voice. All of that together means that it is relatively easy to sell articles to them.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    The U.S. government handing out licenses to steal, and I thought they didn't like the competition.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    John, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 4:48pm

    "(I had no idea such a thing existed))"

    If there is an audience, there will be a publication. I can remember 20 years ago a friend spotting a tabloid-newspaper-style publication in my living room called "Law Technology Product News", and being amazed that there was a magazine for such a narrow audience (which I happened to be a part of at the time). If there is a market for a product, there will be a publication about that market. Then it was magazines, now it is websites.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    Nathan Myhrvold

    Hello, valued investor. I'm writing to let you know about our exciting new patent on feeding starving children. For too long charities have been stealing our intellectual property, getting a free ride on our hard work. This is why we are sending settlement letters to charities demanding ongoing licensing fees for the use of our intellectual property. The problem, however, doesn't stop there: as you know, when an end user makes use of infringing technology they themselves are guilty of infringement; therefore, we are proud to announce that we will be suing the children as well for eating the infringing food. Thank you for investing with Intellectual Ventures.

    Sincerely,
    Nathan Myhrvold

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    When you read that Intel, Sony, Apple and Microsoft are involved in this scumbaggery it then becomes a case of good old corporate greed.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2014 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re:

    I am aware, through familial knowledge, that Time Inc. experienced an evolutionary step when they realized that they could make 100's of magazines as easily as 7. This caused a severe left turn in their operations. Life folded, and re-opened as a monthly rather than a weekly, and they launched a whole lot of specialty stuff, among other things. This was significant toward other changes as well, many of which I have personal disgust for.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 2:34am

    wasn't there a chance for Congress to introduce measures to curb this 'patent trolling' but in their usual bouts of wisdom, backed off, chickened out and ended up doing their usual f**k all??

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:15am

    Re: "Of course, right now we should be helping to speed up the adoption of alternative energy sources like wind power"

    Not really. If alternative technologies produce reliable power at a good price, then obviously we should support them.

    But if they mainly convert government subsidies into profits, with intermittent power as a byproduct, then we should not.

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:17am

    Re: Smell a Rat, . . Surprise, a Rat.

    Straight into the core of the filth for sure.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 6:39am

    Re: Smell a Rat, . . Surprise, a Rat.

    This is flat out proof that the oil and gas industry and their lobbyists are suppressing alternative energies.
    I guess it only makes sense. People will keep buying oil and gas, because they will keep making the alternatives more expensive.
    Its a shame that the government makes this possible. They are working against themselves here. The EPA pushes alternatives while the USPTO allows others to suppress them.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Alien Rebel (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Smell a Rat, . . Surprise, a Rat.

    I remember as a kid visiting D.C. and being awed by the place. Now, it's like, "Ewww, don't touch anything."

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    IGnatius T Foobar, Aug 16th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    What's good for the goose...

    Although we all hate patent trollery ... it's about time the government-hyped wind and solar industry got hit with some bullying.

    Our entire economy depends on affordable energy. That means we need to eliminate *all* obstacles to abundant energy production:

    * Innovators in wind and solar need to be free of patent trollery

    * Producers of nuclear energy need to be able to proliferate instead of having all their projects blocked

    * Distributors of conventional oil/gas/coal energy need to be able to conduct their business instead of getting taxed out of existence by the "global warming" bogeyman.

     

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

  34.  
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    Niall (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 1:23am

    Re: What's good for the goose...

    I really really hope this is a bad attempt at trolling or parodying oil and gas shills, because otherwise it would be my biggest laugh of the day.

     

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


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