Financiers of Intellectual Ventures are Microsoft, Bill Gates, and Apple
Summary: How Intellectual Ventures fuels patent wars with its arsenal of patents that it uses to silently extort companies (concealed with NDAs)
FOR those who know nothing about Intellectual Ventures, here is a good place to start. We shall assume that everyone is already familiar with this huge parasite that turns the patent system into a “a combination mob protection packet + Ponzi monetization scheme,” to quote someone who had personal encounters with the firm. Intellectual Ventures is somewhat of a spin-off of Microsoft, created with financial assistance (capital) from Bill Gates, Microsoft, and later on Apple. Intellectual Ventures uses ‘satellite’ companies (over a thousand of them) to do its work/carry out attacks without tarnishing its own name and Intellectual Ventures also influences the government using millions of dollars.
The Bellevue, Wash., company that owns around 30,000 patents for the first time assigned one of its members a patent to use as ammunition in a lawsuit. Verizon Communications, which agreed to pay IV as much as $350 million in a 2008 deal, is using one of IV’s patents to strike back at TiVo in a patent fight.
Here is TechDirt’s take on it:
Intellectual Ventures Lending Its Patents To Members To Sue Others
We’ve certainly written plenty about Intellectual Ventures, the giant, incredibly secretive, patent hoarding operation that has convinced a bunch of companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in a sort of pyramid scheme protection racket, to avoid getting sued on any of the patents that it holds. But now it’s taken things a step further. Last year, we saw how at least one IV patent had shown up in a patent lawsuit, and now Zusha Elinson is reporting that Intellectual Ventures has effectively loaned out one of its patents to member company Verizon, with which it can sue TiVo, in response to a lawsuit TiVo filed against it.
Several weeks ago we wrote about those ‘satellite’ companies which Intellectual Ventures is using. In the case above, there is something a little different going on. Who benefits from this? The question is rhetorical. “Intellectual Ventures is becoming an arms dealer in patent nuclear war,” wrote the FFII’s president less than an hour ago (he quoted TechDirt).
Now that the patent system is hacked, it is time to reform it or abolish it.
Earlier this week Microsoft and Amazon signed a patent deal covering Amazon’s Linux-based Kindle and its use of Linux-based server systems. Amazon will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount as a result of this deal. I know it’s just me but what the hell is up with that? I don’t have a lot of details of this deal but why would Amazon have to pay Microsoft anything for the use of Linux on its Kindle or on its use of Linux-based servers? Your guess is as good as mine.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was created to address such situations. It’s time to use this one law which is actually defensible because it protects the little guy (or girl). █