Venture Capital Trade Association Hires Patent Troll Lawyers, Fights Against Patent Reform... Even As Most VCs Want Patent Reform

from the this-is-just-strange dept

The venture capitalists who are members of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) may want to reconsider why they support an organization that is actively working against the interests of venture capitalists and innovation. It has long been known that most venture investors in the tech world know damn well that patents get in the way of innovation, rather than help it. For years, we've written about some of the most high-profile venture capitalists -- the ones that entrepreneurs would die to have invest in them -- arguing about the need for patent reform and how patents often act as a tax on innovation, rather than an incentive for innovation.

So... it seemed really, really odd earlier this year, when a guy hired by the NVCA to appear at a Congressional hearing on patent reform argued against patent reform and suggested, if anything, that patent protections needed to be ratcheted up. The guy in question, Robert Taylor, seemed like an odd choice. He was not a venture capitalist, but rather a consultant who focused on patent strategies for startups -- in other words, someone who would directly profit from a bigger patent mess.

But, his view is clearly not in the mainstream among venture capitalists. This can be evidenced from a few different places. First, a little over a year ago, a study was conducted by Robin Feldman on venture capitalist views towards patents, and it put to rest the myth that VCs love patents. That study was actually conducted in coordination with the NVCA. The survey was distributed by the NVCA to its members. And those members did not like patents or what they did to innovation. Some quotes from the results:
When asked whether they see patent assertion as positive for startups and the startup community, 72% of venture capitalists disagree....

74% of the venture capitalists reported that patent demands had either a highly significant or a moderately significant impact on companies that received them, including distracting management, expending resources, or altering business plans....

When companies spend money trying to protect their intellectual property position, they are not expanding; and when companies spend time thinking about patent demands, they are not inventing....

... the venture capitalists were in general agreement that patent demands are increasing against venture-backed companies. 79% responded that the number of patent demands have increased over the last five years for their portfolio companies overall....

For 59% of the venture capitalists, the patent demands came either all or mostly from those whose core activity is licensing or litigating patents....
In other words, the vast majority of NVCA VCs recognize that patent trolling is a massive problem. And, yes, the majority of the problem comes from the trolls:
The report includes a ton of heart-wrenching anecdotal stories about startups that were basically destroyed by patent trolls -- which were mostly relayed by these VCs.

And, if you needed any more evidence that venture capitalists realize the patent system today is broken and reform is needed, you can just look at this letter a ton of venture capitalists sent to Congress earlier this year, demanding reform, and highlighting how patent trolls are a massive tax on innovation. The signatories to the letter (and there are a lot of them) basically represent a who's who of venture capitalists that any Silicon Valley startup would love to have invest in them -- including Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, YCombinator, Greylock, Benchmark, Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, Softech VC, SV Angels, Canaan Partners, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Spark Capital and many more. It's hard to think of a top VC firm that isn't listed.

These are the companies and individuals who funded nearly all of the top internet companies today: Google, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Airbnb, Github, Pinterest, Slack, StackExchange, Kickstarter, Etsy, Cloudflare, Lending Club and many, many more.

Given all of this, many people were left scratching their heads and wondering why the NVCA was coming out against the rather clear wishes of its own members, and the rather detailed literature and studies highlighting how problematic today's patent system is for innovation and startups. Even some of the Congressional Reps at that hearing wondered about it, leading NVCA to issue a rather bizarre clarification that Taylor's testimony was not on behalf of NVCA members, but some amorphous "broader industry."
To be clear, Mr. Taylor was present at the hearing to testify as NVCA's outside counsel on behalf of the broader industry, not as a representative of individual NVCA member firms.
Huh? What "broader industry"? And if he wasn't representing the interests of the NVCA's members, why was he there as the NVCA's representative at the hearing?

The same clarification also sought to totally reinterpret the Feldman study (which, again, had been done in cooperation with the NVCA), arguing that even though the vast, vast majority of NVCA members had real problems with patent trolls and saw them as damaging, the fact that a few did not, somehow made it okay for the NVCA to side with the few and to argue for stronger patents, even though the VCs and startups in the survey clearly indicated that such a solution would be a problem.
... the survey findings do not indicate a difference of opinion between NVCA's position on patent litigation reform and the issue of patent assertions....
Hell yes it does.

From there, the NVCA blatantly lies and says that it actually supports reforms that deal with "abuses with patent assertions"... but immediately caveats that by claiming "we also believe that any attempt to reform the system must maintain strong patent enforcement mechanisms..."

This whole story got stranger still last month, when it was revealed that the NVCA hired lawyers closely connected to some big patent trolls to pressure Congress into weakening or killing patent reform.
A review of the leaked document also reveals another surprise: the names of the lawyers that the trade group has assigned to examine the law. One of them is Michael Spillner, who is general counsel for Tessera, which has been widely described as a patent troll. Another is William Nelson, a partner at the law firm Tensegrity, which was founded in 2012 by several elite lawyers seeking to cash in on the popularity of patent trolling.
All of this should raise serious concerns among actual venture capitalists about just what their trade organization is doing in their name. It appears to have handed the keys to those in bed with the patent trolls, and against the interests of its actual members and the most well-known, successful and sought-after venture capitalists in the world.


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Filed Under: innovation, investment, patent reform, patent trolls, patents, startups, venture capital
Companies: nvca


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 12:55pm

    William Nelson

    Seriously? Out of all of the possible first names that parents with the last name of Nelson could have picked, they chose William? They must have been big country music fans or something...

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

  • identicon
    Not Me, 9 Jul 2015 @ 1:10pm

    VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

    One odd thing that was hinted at during the Ellen Pao trial was she was involved in setting up a patent licensing company. It appeared that company was established in order to acquire and license patents to their portfolio companies.

    It simpler terms, it was a way for KPMG to extract money from firms they controlled, cutting out regular shareholder and other investors.

    Pao was upset that she wasn't put on the board of this licensing company, which was guaranteed to be immensely profitable. Getting on the board would likely have made her millions of dollars. Threatening to expose the scam was the leverage she thought she had over KPMG.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2015 @ 7:11pm

      Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

      Shhh! Mike's on a rant. VCs hate patents. Drink your Kool-Aid.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 9:58pm

      Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

      One odd thing that was hinted at during the Ellen Pao trial was she was involved in setting up a patent licensing company. It appeared that company was established in order to acquire and license patents to their portfolio companies.

      That's not entirely true or accurate. She was involved in sourcing RPX's investment to KPCB, but RPX is not really a patent troll. RPX was actually set up to *combat* the patent troll problem, by allowing companies to pool resources to buy up patents and share them *for defensive purposes only*.

      It simpler terms, it was a way for KPMG to extract money from firms they controlled, cutting out regular shareholder and other investors.

      KPMG is a big consulting firm. You mean KPCB which is entirely unrelated from KPMG. And while I'm in the more skeptical camp about RPX and think it would be better if it was not even needed, to argue that it's in the trolling business would be inaccurate. It's an anti-trolling operation.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 5:00am

        Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

        And while I'm in the more skeptical camp about RPX and think it would be better if it was not even needed, to argue that it's in the trolling business would be inaccurate. It's an anti-trolling operation.

        Were you skeptical of RPX when you were regurgitating its "data" about NPEs directly costing the economy 29 billion dollars a year? For example: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120626/10452719493/29-billion-spent-dealing-with-patent-trolls-u s-alone-last-year.shtml

        If RPX's business model is to sell NPE insurance to companies, why didn't that make you at least a little suspicious that it might over-inflate the NPE problem?

        Yet you weren't skeptical at all. You repeated that number like it was gospel truth.

        People who were actually skeptical about RPX's self-serving numbers have done a good job explaining the problems with its methodology. For example: http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/intpl16&div=5&id=&page= & http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2117421

        But you weren't concerned about the methodology. Why not, if you're skeptical? Is it because you like the conclusions?

        You appear to doing the same sort of selection bias here with your claim that members of the NVCA "d[o] not like patents or what they d[o] to innovation."

        That's not quite the whole story, is it?

        From the link provided below:
        As the U.S. increasingly becomes a high-tech, knowledge-based economy, the importance of patents grows exponentially as the frequency by which they are sought and enforced grows with each passing year. . . .

        Significant venture capital investment is based on the existence of patents to protect an emerging company’s innovative idea and deter competitors from stealing their idea. If this investment is not protected through a strong patent system that acts as a deterrent on infringement, further investment in patent-reliant technology will decline.
        Link: http://nvca.org/issues/patent-reform/

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 11:02am

          Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

          Were you skeptical of RPX when you were regurgitating its "data" about NPEs directly costing the economy 29 billion dollars a year? For example: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120626/10452719493/29-billion-spent-dealing-with-patent-trolls-u s-alone-last-year.shtml

          I'm not skeptical of RPX's *data*. I'm skeptical of RPX *as a business*.

          And the research was not by RPX but by James Bessen and Michael Meurer, two of the most respected voices in the space, whose work has been proven accurate time and time again. It is, of course, no surprise that some patent trolls have tried to attack it, but the overall methodology was indeed quite sound in demonstrating the extent of the problem.


          Significant venture capital investment is based on the existence of patents to protect an emerging company’s innovative idea and deter competitors from stealing their idea. If this investment is not protected through a strong patent system that acts as a deterrent on infringement, further investment in patent-reliant technology will decline.


          That statement is just laughable and wrong, and goes against what top VCs have said for well over a decade, including in the study that NVCA itself participated in.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

            I'm not skeptical of RPX's *data*. I'm skeptical of RPX *as a business*.

            Why aren't you skeptical of the data put out by RPX? Are you admitting that you aren't the least bit skeptical of whatever data they put out, even data that greatly benefits their business model? Why not? Do you admit to generally accepting data you like without questioning the source? If I'm wrong in this instance, please explain exactly why.

            And the research was not by RPX but by James Bessen and Michael Meurer, two of the most respected voices in the space, whose work has been proven accurate time and time again.

            Um, the data they based their research on was from RPX. If you were more skeptical, i.e., didn't just jump on it because you liked the way it sounded, you'd know this.

            That statement is just laughable and wrong, and goes against what top VCs have said for well over a decade, including in the study that NVCA itself participated in.

            And yet it's on the very website of the people you claim believe the exact opposite. Can you ACTUALLY explain why they say this on their website? Or are you just going to brush off this as inconvenient data like you ignore so much data that you don't like?

            Can't wait for your substantive answers on the merits.

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

            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 5:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

              Can't wait for your substantive answers on the merits.


              I'd be happy to engage in someone who indicated that they were serious in engaging. However, the snide tone you are using, the intentional misrepresentations of my statements, followed by the ever-present digs at the idea that I won't respond makes it clear that you are trolling.

              I am assuming that, given that one commenter on this site in particular tends to employ the same trollish tactics, that you are likely the same person, who is well aware of why there is no point in engaging with you. You will move the goalposts. You will flat out lie. You will misrepresent what I say... and when all that fails and you look foolish, you will throw a tantrum. Been there, done that, and have real work to do.

              Good bye.

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

              • icon
                antidirt (profile), 12 Jul 2015 @ 3:43pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                Rather than admit you're wrong about RPX and NVCA, you make an excuse and run away. Shocker. Is there an honest cell in your body?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2015 @ 5:43pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                  Whined the trolling spambot, who uses the pirate tool TOR.

                  How's it feel to have a signature stink that no shield of anonymity will ever cover?

                  Seriously - if you're just going to troll, why bother having an insider account if all you're going to do with it is spam, troll, and bitch about your voluntary decision to throw money at an organization you loathe with every fiber of your body?

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 5:33am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                    LOL! Nice try at deflection, but I'm bringing much-dreaded substance to the discussion.

                    Mike claims that the NVCA hates patents, yet their own website says this:
                    As the U.S. increasingly becomes a high-tech, knowledge-based economy, the importance of patents grows exponentially as the frequency by which they are sought and enforced grows with each passing year. . . .

                    Significant venture capital investment is based on the existence of patents to protect an emerging company’s innovative idea and deter competitors from stealing their idea. If this investment is not protected through a strong patent system that acts as a deterrent on infringement, further investment in patent-reliant technology will decline.
                    Link: http://nvca.org/issues/patent-reform/

                    Clearly, the truth is not as black-and-white as Mike claims.

                    And then with RPX, Mike says: "And the research was not by RPX but by James Bessen and Michael Meurer, two of the most respected voices in the space, whose work has been proven accurate time and time again."

                    This is easily proved wrong. The data used in the study all came from RPX. The authors admit as much in the study. See for yourself: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2091210

                    So what does Mike do to brush this off? He claims that the authors are greatly respected and that it has been proven to be true numerous times. And the cites to these proofs? Nonexistent.

                    What can be easily found are criticisms, such as this: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2117421

                    The problems with the study are numerous. I'm happy to go into great detail about the flaws in its methodology. Is Mike? Of course not.

                    Imagine if two pro-IP scholars put out a study based on data supplied by an MPAA survey. The MPAA does not reveal what questions were asked, nor who they were asked to. Would Mike claim this study was biased, or would he accept its conclusions without question? The answer is obvious.

                    Yet with the RPX data, he's not the least bit suspicious. One can only conclude, as I have done hundreds of times with Mike's double-standards, that he doesn't care about the truth.

                    The funny thing is, Mike's name comes up all the time in IP policy discussions, and without exception, he's seen as the laughing stock of the IP world. I hear this from people on both sides of the debates.

                    The reason is obvious: He's all bark and no bite. He's all form and no substance. He's not taken seriously because he's not a serious person. Nobody thinks he's dumb, but they sure do think he's an idiot.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 6:04am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                      Mike claims that the NVCA hates patents, yet their own website says this:


                      Did you even read the article? That quote *supports* what he wrote. You're the worst.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 6:51am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                        How does stressing the importance of a strong patent system show that they hate patents?

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 7:16am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                          How does stressing the importance of a strong patent system show that they hate patents?


                          Who said they hate patents? Seriously. Did you read the article above? Are you really that quick to attack that you didn't read or understand the article itself?

                          This is pretty funny.

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 7:56am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                            Who said they hate patents? Seriously. Did you read the article above? Are you really that quick to attack that you didn't read or understand the article itself?

                            This is pretty funny.


                            I get that you're just trolling, but Mike's message was clear.

                            For example: "It has long been known that most venture investors in the tech world know damn well that patents get in the way of innovation, rather than help it." & "And those members did not like patents or what they did to innovation."

                            If you think I'm wrong, point to the evidence that proves it.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 9:27am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                              I get that you're just trolling, but Mike's message was clear.

                              For example: "It has long been known that most venture investors in the tech world know damn well that patents get in the way of innovation, rather than help it." & "And those members did not like patents or what they did to innovation."

                              If you think I'm wrong, point to the evidence that proves it.


                              *I'm* trolling? Holy fuck.

                              The entire article is about how the NVCA loves patents -- despite the widespread evidence that it's members do NOT love patents. And that includes a study done of NVCA members showing that they dislike patents.

                              And your response to this is to point to the NVCA saying they love patents. Which is exactly what this very article says.

                              Yes, the NVCA says they love patents. And you pointed to them saying exactly that. But the EVIDENCE (which is linked in the article) shows that the NVCA's MEMBERS do NOT love patents.

                              To then claim that the NVCA saying exactly what the article says it says somehow disproves the article is just weird. And to follow it up by demanding evidence when the article itself points to a detailed study and discusses the results of that study is just high comedy.

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

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 7:56pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                                Don't expect the troll to explain himself. He's not going to. The closest antidirt ever comes to a proper explanation is an accusatory finger wildly flailed in your direction which says that if you disagree with him, you're a pirate.

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

                                • icon
                                  Mike Masnick (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 4:37pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                                  Heh. Just came back to check on this thread. I find it rather amusing that when someone called out antidirt's total misreading of the article, he disappeared. Of course, if *I* did that, he'd attack me left right center and upside down for "running away."

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

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2015 @ 4:03pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                                    Heh. Just came back to check on this thread. I find it rather amusing that when someone called out antidirt's total misreading of the article, he disappeared. Of course, if *I* did that, he'd attack me left right center and upside down for "running away."

                                    Honestly, I forgot about this thread. When I'm not signed in, I don't get email reminders about comments.

                                    That said, if you're not running away, and if you're not the biggest coward in the entire IP world, then let's set a time where you and I debate on the merits. You and I both know that it will NEVER happen.

                                    If you want to prove me wrong, just email me with the time and place. Bring all your friends and sockpuppets. I don't care. I'll argue my side alone.

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

                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2015 @ 4:22pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                                      Let me just add: I love how when you think you can score a point against me, no matter how minor and desperate, you're happy to show up in the comments. But when it comes to something more difficult--like precisely what you believe about patents and copyrights--you can't be found. I think you're a dishonest little weasel. I don't say that lightly. I don't think you have an honest bone in your body. I really don't. I would LOVE for you to prove me wrong. Try not running away when it's something difficult, and I MIGHT think that you're not 100% full of shit. But I have no doubt whatsoever that you never will. You simply can't. I get that now. Took me years to accept the fact, but I get it now.

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

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2015 @ 3:58pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                                The entire article is about how the NVCA loves patents -- despite the widespread evidence that it's members do NOT love patents. And that includes a study done of NVCA members showing that they dislike patents.

                                Nonsense. If the point was that the NVCA loves patents, then why would Mike say this: "So... it seemed really, really odd earlier this year, when a guy hired by the NVCA to appear at a Congressional hearing on patent reform argued against patent reform and suggested, if anything, that patent protections needed to be ratcheted up."

                                If the NVCA loves patents, then it wouldn't be strange that it hired someone pro-patent. Why would Mike question the motives of an organization that acts consistent with its belief?

                                Mike's conclusion is just dumb: "Given all of this, many people were left scratching their heads and wondering why the NVCA was coming out against the rather clear wishes of its own members, and the rather detailed literature and studies highlighting how problematic today's patent system is for innovation and startups."

                                The position of the NVCA and its members is clear: Yes, patent trolls are somewhat of a problem, but patents themselves are not evil.

                                But the EVIDENCE (which is linked in the article) shows that the NVCA's MEMBERS do NOT love patents.

                                Utter bullshit. The REALITY isn't black and white. That some NVCA members express concerns about patent trolls says NOTHING about how they feel about the patent system. How many of those members rely on the patent system? You conveniently don't address this question. Nor does Mike. Nor do Mike's sock-puppets. If the NVCA is touting the importance of patents, then it stands to reason that many of its members feel the same way. Of course, Mike can't address this. He's on a mindless IP-bashing rant.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2015 @ 6:40am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VCs might not like patent trolls, but they use them

                      If you think trolling, misdirection and insults constitutes "substance", it's small wonder why you resort to anonymity to peddle your tainted wares.

                      Unfortunately for you, your shtick is so obvious and tired, anyone can tell it's you no matter what sad pseudonym you try to adopt, just like out_of_the_blue. It's pathetic.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 2:41pm

    Say something or deal with it

    So it sounds like the ones running the association have been either bought out or fallen for some bad advice, and are acting in a manner that's against their own members' wishes.

    Sounds like a good time for those members to call for their replacement, threaten to leave(and follow through if needed), or in some other significant way make their displeasure known, unless they for some reason like belonging to an association that's actively trying to screw them over.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2015 @ 3:22pm

      Re: Say something or deal with it

      So it sounds like the ones running the association have been either bought out or fallen for some bad advice, and are acting in a manner that's against their own members' wishes.

      Politicians often act against their electorate interests because the electorate is large and dispersed, while the lobbyist is buying them drinks, whether the politician is meant to represent a trade organization, or the citizens. The problem being its hard to talk to a mass of people, but easy to talk to an individual.

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

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 3:10pm

    This is what happens when members don't pay attention

    Having been a officer/board member in a similar industry association, I'm not shocked.

    It's all too easy for the officers and BoD members to drive the organization in their own direction.

    And they're difficult to kick out - the people doing the voting in each firm are often the same as the officers in the association.

    The only way this will get better is if a huge number of members drop out (and stop paying their dues).

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 3:11pm

    iTS FUNNY..

    Corps LOVE paying employees, to make Things FOR the company...
    They HATE PAYING a company or person to USE something that works better then what THEY made..

    They will wait for the end of CR and TAKE something before paying for it..
    And if you read the Employee contracts, ANYTHING/EVERYTHING made by the employee, even off hours...belongs to the Corp..

    But Copyrights were made for the Individual..originally...to protect them..

    And if you really want a strange thought...computer tech 20-30 years ago, had advances they STILL arnt using..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Why no link to the association "Issues" page that discusses its specific concerns...which, BTW, are directed to some areas where the proposed legislative changes are of concern to even many in the "less is more" camp?

    The association's comments can be found at:

    http://nvca.org/issues/patent-reform/

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2015 @ 7:09pm

      Re:

      Why no link to the association "Issues" page that discusses its specific concerns...which, BTW, are directed to some areas where the proposed legislative changes are of concern to even many in the "less is more" camp?

      Because that would destroy Mike's nuance-free rhetoric. He wants the message to be that the world's greatest VCs hate patents and only see them as a tax on innovation. But then links like yours prove that he's just projecting his own views. Why let a little nuance, or reality, get in the way of a good rant?

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 8:56pm

        Re: Re:

        His own views and the views of about 70% of venture capitalists who were surveyed anyway.

        But have fun ignoring what was actually said and pretending it's just Mike who's making the claims that patents are more bad than good when it comes to startups.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 5:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          His own views and the views of about 70% of venture capitalists who were surveyed anyway.

          But have fun ignoring what was actually said and pretending it's just Mike who's making the claims that patents are more bad than good when it comes to startups.


          Where in the quoted materials is the conclusion that "patents are more bad than good" expressed?

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 2:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Right, so I'm guessing you just skipped the article and went straight to the comments. Can't figure out how else you managed to miss the several paragraphs covering the survey...

            To save you from the laborious task of scrolling back up, here's the relevant section of the article.

            When asked whether they see patent assertion as positive for startups and the startup community, 72% of venture capitalists disagree....

            74% of the venture capitalists reported that patent demands had either a highly significant or a moderately significant impact on companies that received them, including distracting management, expending resources, or altering business plans....

            When companies spend money trying to protect their intellectual property position, they are not expanding; and when companies spend time thinking about patent demands, they are not inventing....


            ... the venture capitalists were in general agreement that patent demands are increasing against venture-backed companies. 79% responded that the number of patent demands have increased over the last five years for their portfolio companies overall....

            For 59% of the venture capitalists, the patent demands came either all or mostly from those whose core activity is licensing or litigating patents....

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2015 @ 9:38pm

      Re:

      Seriously, Mark Syman, if you're just going to trot out the same tired old links, why not just sign in and use your real username?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 5:05am

        Re: Re:

        Seriously, Mark Syman, if you're just going to trot out the same tired old links, why not just sign in and use your real username?

        Attack the person and not the point being made. How very Techdirt of you.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 5:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Right, because when the same tired trolls trot out the same tired quote about how Masnick hates copyright law on every other article regardless of whether copyright law is relevant to said article, that's somehow magically not attacking the person.

          Syman's done the exact same thing and run, run, run away every time patent abuse is brought up, like the group that patented photography contests, and the shell companies that patented scanning documents to email. Yet he won't ever explain anything about the company that's somehow so niche it has no competition whatsoever but Google will somehow magically destroy it if he reveals anything.

          Yeah, that's your model of credibility and honesty right there. This is the sort of discourse you'd rather have? The equivalent of knocking on someone's door, run away when someone comes to open it, then put up a big fuss when you get caught and your ass gets kicked over it?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 7:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hey, if you think it's worthwhile to accuse random ACs of being Mark Syman, go right ahead. I don't think it's very productive. I also don't think it's productive to call him a "troll" just because he disagrees with you. At least he signs in with his name. I don't do that, and neither do you. Nor do I recall ever claiming that he is the "model of credibility." I've only ever seen him post in one comments section (the one where I had a very substantive debate with Derek Khana and where Mike ran away rather than do the same). The "sort of discourse" I'd rather have is a substantive discussion on the merits, but Mike (you??) doesn't do that. I'm asking him to defend his cite to the $29 billion figure from the RPX data. He won't discuss that, of course.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 9:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Because Whatever claiming anyone who disagrees with him must be PaulT counts as productive for you?

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 9 Jul 2015 @ 11:35pm

    Representative Associations

    If we had a nickel for every "representative association" that doesn't represent the members of the association, we could pay off the national debt.

    These associations grow up ostensibly to represent their members, but then they act like independent corporations, representing their own selfish interests even when those clearly conflict with the aims and needs of their members.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 8:40am

      Re: Representative Associations

      These associations grow up ostensibly to represent their members, but then they act like independent corporations, representing their own selfish interests even when those clearly conflict with the aims and needs of their members.

      Professional associations, employee unions, Native band councils, Congress, ...

      They'll all grow out of control when they're allowed to.

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


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