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Patents Businesses The Courts

Intellectual Ventures Tied To 1,300 Shell Companies 140

Posted by timothy
from the such-pretty-shells dept.
dgharmon writes "New research (PDF) shows that Intellectual Ventures is tied to at least 1,300 shell companies whose sole purpose is to coerce real companies into buying patent license that they don't want or need. Those who resist the 'patent trolls' are dragged into nightmarish lawsuits."
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Intellectual Ventures Tied To 1,300 Shell Companies

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  • by Daetrin (576516) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:54PM (#40966589)
    Don't worry, with today's globalization if you don't come to the patent infringement lawsuits, the patent infringement lawsuits will come to you. After all, the fact that neither Samsung nor Apple is a French company hasn't stopped them from suing each other in France [mashable.com] (along with everywhere else.)
  • The trolls very rarely get away with this stuff in a courtroom. Most of the time they settle out of court, because the defendant does not have the resources (in case of a small company) or it's just cheaper for them (in case of larger companies defending). Patent trolls are, most of the time, very scared of actually having to go to court. If this happens they will probably lose. And if they lose a dangerous, at least for them, precedent would be set.

  • Patent Trolls (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NonSenseAgency (1759800) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @04:19PM (#40966817)
    Sounds like a clear case for the application of the Rico Act.
  • by joocemann (1273720) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @04:35PM (#40966925)

    This sounds *exactly* like how organized crime (mobs) operate. Where the hell is the FBI I'm paying for? Will they please focus on relevant issues?!?!?!

  • I don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @04:44PM (#40966981) Homepage Journal
    why anyone is complaining so loudly.

    This behaviour is the natural and logical outcome of the current patent system.

    Did anybody seriously expect anything different?
  • by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday August 12, 2012 @04:55PM (#40967069) Journal
    That makes the right strategy "All my wealth for defence, not one dime for tribute." Pay the danegeld and you'll never get rid of the Dane.
  • So easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @05:09PM (#40967175)
    When congress finally crafts a law to eliminate patent abuse an easy measure of success is if companies like this are destroyed. Not hurt but close up shop like most of the buggy whip companies. When a company exists only to sue vibrant and healthy companies they are a parasite, that is they provide no value to society while simultaneously damaging it.

    The politicians blah blah about cutting red tape and creating jobs but what about protecting us from evil like this? I can't imagine the flowering of new developments that would take place without bloodsuckers like these.

    One of the things that hold third world countries back is that if you have the slightest bit of success some Mr Big / Warlord / Village chief / Crimelord / Well connected bureaucrat will come along and take whatever you have. There are few property rights in these countries. Yet in the western world the bloodsuckers have perverted the very thing that use to make us successful (property rights) where they do the very thing that those property rights were supposed to prevent.

    My suggestions for IP reform are to significantly raise the bar as to what an invention really is. If someone invents a cool new battery don't let someone patent the use of that battery in everything. Shorten the life of a patent from 20 years to 10 years after the first significant use of that product. (or 20 years whichever comes first)

    Software patents; how about no. Change the lifetimes for different categories of patent. Drug patents, 10 years. Material patents 15 years. Electronic patents 5 years.

    Limit the damages to a tiny percentage of the wholesale value of a product.

    Only allow the original inventors or companies that are implementing the product to launch a lawsuit. If you are sitting on a stack of patents they all you are doing is holding back the progress of humanity.

    If a company has more than 30% of a market then make the licensing of their patents mandatory for a nominal cost.

    Don't let universities charge too much for patents. Yet don't let their professors hive of some research to create a company and then patent the crap out of it.

    Have an independent government department for patent invalidation. Having the patent office invalidate a patent is having them say they were wrong. Also judges need to be able to invalidate a patent.

    Again raise the bar for what gets patented. I'm looking at you one-click-purchase!

    If a suit asks for one amount and wins a much lower amount then the difference should be deducted from the awarded amount. So if they ask for a billion and win 100 million then you subtract 900 million resulting in 0 (zero dollars). This should be for all lawsuits.

    Lastly if a lawfirm sues for a patent that later becomes invalidated then they can be hit with treble damages. (That is treble what they demanded.)
  • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @06:35PM (#40967783)

    I believe having a portfolio full of bullshit obvious, vague and simple patents and using them to intimidate and vanquish competition qualifies as trolling as well.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @07:40PM (#40968317) Journal
    To point out the obvious, the FBI investigates crimes. Smart criminals decide to not break the law, because then they get the police on their side.

    What these guys are doing is not illegal, just anti-social.
  • by boorack (1345877) on Monday August 13, 2012 @03:59AM (#40970975)

    There are already laws in place to deal with those crooks. The problem is selective application of laws - ordinary people will be jailed for years for having a little bit of marijuana in possesion, while crooky ruling elite is clearly above the law and they can do whatever they want. And if they break laws (stealing billions in the process), enforcement officials will cover it up (instead of doing what they're supposed to do) or some law retroactively legalizing criminal ruling crooks' behavior will be passed.

    Wake up folks, 2012 US of A is a two-tiered society, pretty much like medieval Europe. Technology and cheap energy is the only thing keeping standard of live relatively high but if it ends, you'll get back into dark ages sooner than you think.

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