back to article Intellectual Ventures wages patent war on Motorola

Intellectual Ventures, the patent holding firm set up by former Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Nathan Myhrvold, has filed suit against Motorola for patent infringement. According to court documents (PDF), Intellectual Ventures is claiming the violation of six patents it holds. These include patents for a file transfer …


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  1. Rob Moss.
    Thumb Down

    And so the patent mafia come...

    ... to offer their "protection" to another smartphone manufacturer, just like they did with HTC

    I really hope Google fend off this BS attack and set a precedent for other Android manufacturers

    I also really hope that Microsoft die, quickly

  2. Shannon Jacobs

    Patent law reconsidered

    Yet another example of the new purposes of patents:

    (1) Monopoly patents

    (2) Blackmail

    Encourage innovation? What are you smoking?

  3. jake Silver badge

    How the hell can you patent ...

    ... standard operating procedure?

    Can I patent turning the soil in my garden? How about double-digging? Composting? Pruning my fruit trees? Or, maybe more on point, transferring compost to the various beds in my gardens?

    How about transporting water?

    The US patent system is completely corrupt & needs revamping.

  4. Arctic fox

    We have now reached the point where there is a market............ patents as if they were independent financial instruments with all that implies. Most particularly it means that large amounts of speculative money are being used to trade in a *commodity*, something patents were never originally envisioned as. In practice it means that a large amount of venture capital is being applied to parasitising the industries affected instead being available to contribute to driving innovation and development. The VCs appear in increasing degree to see this as a lower risk because they are investing in enforcing ownership of what already exists. Unless the patent system is reformed in such a fashion that speculating in patents as a commodity in themselves is severely restrained, this development will utterly strangle industrial innovation. A situation where it is extremely attractive to invest in and enforce the status quo is no recipe for innovation and progress. The current situation bids fair to ensuring that the industrial/economic system starts to stagnate completely in a mire of competing civil court cases where the competition is not over what you can make but over what you own. The principal of ownership is of course central to our economic system, however, how that is expressed and how your are permitted to enforce it is crucial in driving forward the systems "creative destruction". Unless we do something about this there is going to be far too little creation and far too much destruction with the result that we may very well see the patent system doing to society what the banking system has been doing in recent years. The price is likely to be a *very* steep one.

    1. Mark 65

      Indeed, I can confirm that fund managers are actively looking at IP/Patent portfolios as an investable asset class and have done so for some time. At one place I worked they've had one for at least 5 years. If someone is managing a $50bn portfolio and decides to place even .5% in IP then we're still talking about a $250,000,000 investment in this bullshit. Scale this up across an industry hunting out returns in a financial crisis and you have where we find ourselves today. Personally I'd be happy if they fixed the laws up and these pricks lost 100% of their investments.

  5. Tom 7

    Goodbye technological America

    Looking at the patents involved (see groklaw for details) it would appear that the companies trying to take down any other company than themselves are just relying on the splatter gun approach as none of the patents would be un-obvious to anyone with a pc in the late 1990's so they are just hoping that the sheer volume of patents will encourage genuflection.

    Its getting to the stage in the US where the mafia would be better for business than the patent office et all - at least they could see they benefited from a growing economy rather than stifling it completely.

  6. Mat Child

    These people piss me off - collecting patents for no purpose other than to extort money from others if they hapen to invent something that does a similar function.

    Enough people have said it already - Patent laws are broken, being abused by trolls and allow for far too wide a scope. They stiffle innovation and ultimately hurt consumer choice.

    They need reform ASAP and need to deal with these "investement" companies.

  7. Stoneshop

    Wrong name

    It's Intellectual Vultures.

    1. PatientOne

      Intellectual Vultures? I would have opted for Idiot Ventures.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Lets comprimise

        Idiot Vultures

  8. ratfox


    How 500 M$ patents bring 2 G$... There is a 75% chance that the courts will invalidate them, I guess...

    H6242 — Kill all the lawyers.

  9. Neil Greatorex

    $2 billion in profits?

    But they don't make anything to sell in order to make a "profit".

    1. Ramazan


      Of course they do. They produce Intellectual Property, and the production is costly as they spent $400m buying patents (CapEx). Their OpEx are negotiators/lawyers expenses, and they even managed to make profit :)

      1. PatientOne


        Nope, they *buy* Intellectual Property then try to capitalize on it.

        They *produce* nothing. There is no investment into developing new technology, and they haven't applied for any patents of their own - just registered a transfer of an existing patent.

        I can see a use for a Patent holding company, though. No, not as target practice, but as a repository of patents that offers a blanket or technology specific license for the patents in the company's portfolio. The key, however, is the license needs to be reasonably priced and offer shares to companies that offer genuine patents to the patent company for inclusion in the portfolio.

        If run properly, people know where to go for their patent protection and those who are driving innovation get to share in the profits from the portfolio. Oh, and patents are checked and validated before being accepted to prevent duplication and the patenting of the obvious.

        Hmm... perhaps it could then replace the USPTO or even expand to handle patents from around the world?

        Oh, pipe dreams... shame I don't smoke.

        1. Bango Skank

          Slide to the dark side

          That's exactly what Myhrvold said he was going to do - set up a company that amassed a huge trove of patents so that anyone pulling a troll stunt would be sol because there would be a countering patent that was made available to the victim.

          What seems to be happening though, is exactly the opposite plus a fair dollop of what amounts in my personal view to nothing more than a protection racket.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So a MSFT$ sponsored troll attacks google via Motorola?

    What else is new? Seems like apple and msft are reduced to patent trolling since they can't compete on merit. Intellectual vultures is just another msft tool in this war to extort fees from any and all android manufacturers, using the extremely broken patent system.

    1. Darren B 1

      According to Auntie, Google part bankroll IV

  11. Whitter

    Article rating.

    I note that the article itself is being downvoted: is this because you think it is badly written/researched or because the content is something you don't like? The two are not the same.

  12. Dodgy Pilot

    Lost Purpose

    Patents and Copyrights should be good things. They were designed to protect the individual or company that was smart enough and worked hard enough to make something new.

    Being able to transfer a patent to another party goes against the whole spirit of the system (in my very humble opinion) and that ability should be banned - now.

  13. lotus49
    Thumb Down

    Stuff IP

    The whole concept of Intellectual Property is flawed and this is yet another example of what's wrong with it.

    Big companies rip off small inventors (who cannot afford the huge cost of litigation) with impunity so patents and copyright offer almost no protection to them.

    IP laws stifle innovation. If companies didn't rely on legal bully boys to do their dirty work for them, they would have to keep innovating to stay ahead. Instead, we have the unedifying spectacle of serial litigators like this lining the pockets of lawyers at the expense of the end customers.

    The whole concept of IP has outlived its usefulness (not that I am saying it necessarily had any in the past).

  14. Bernard

    I still remember...

    One of the Freakonomics books eulogising Intellectual Ventures and Myhrvold as the people who were going to save humanity by solving hurricanes and global warming through technological innovation.

    I guess the urgent global problem of Smartphones becoming too user friendly is a bigger threat to humanity. It's lucky for all of us they're doing such a heroic job of addressing it.

  15. g e

    FFS, WTF?

    The US patent system is so broken that it's actually a startup business model now?

    &^$%&*^%*"&%" !!!!

    Because there really are no expletives currently robust enough in the English language.

    Maybe 'Patent Troll' itself should become the world's rudest insult, akin to 'Belgium in the Hitchhiker's Guide.

    But then, what would you call a patent troll...? A *&%$&^%$&*"%, presumably!

  16. Hawkmoth

    Carp. Carp on toast.

    This story is part of the whole messed up system the Wall Street occupiers are aggravated by. We've been told not to worry that the country doesn't actually MAKE anything any more because we'll all be employed in higher paid "knowledge" jobs, like designing things. When a country made STUFF, the ruling class had cops to defend bricks and mortar factories. Now that the country makes nothing but designs for things, the rulers have lawyers to defend them from the revolution. Maybe it will work...or maybe it won't and the patent lawyers will be the first ones against the wall.

  17. cloudgazer

    If Intellectual Ventures is so evil

    Why is Google an investor?

  18. Relgoshan


    The only harm these assholes can show is eveyone failing to pay them for dated concepts that don't exist in any product they directly manufacture. Plenty of companies have been using the technology for years, and I may posit that they didn't get all their ideas from combing the patent database.

    When a company is only in business to extort hard-earned cash from manufacturers and small businesses, it is time for that company to cease to exist.

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