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Businesses Patents The Almighty Buck

When Patents Attack — the NPR Version 87

fermion writes "This American Life is running a story this week on Intellectual Ventures, a firm some consider the leader of the patent trolls. The story delves into the origins of the term patent troll and the rise of the patent troll industry. Much time is spent presenting Intellectual Ventures both as a patent troll firm and a legitimate business that allows helpless inventors to monetize patents. It is stipulated that Intellectual Ventures does not in fact sue anyone. It is also alleged that Intellectual Ventures creates many shell companies, presumably to hide such activity. Intellectual Ventures is compared to a Mafia protection racket that may never actually burn down a business that does not pay the dues, but does encourage such burning to occur."
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When Patents Attack — the NPR Version

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  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @02:45PM (#36858212) Homepage
    But it would be nice to, at least in theory, RTFA. Is it just me or do I have to wait until Sunday at 7:00 PM (timezone unknown) to download the MP3 and LTFA.

    Or should I just whine about how bad patent trolls are without benefit of absorbing any new material? It's not like we haven't been down this road before.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @02:50PM (#36858238) Homepage
    Well, I finally found something resembling TFA []
  • Interesting tidbits (Score:5, Informative)

    by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @02:56PM (#36858276)

    I listened to the whole thing live streaming from my NPR station. I was interested to hear that almost everything considered "common knowledge" here on Slashdot held up under their scrutiny. They visited a company that makes software to find duplicate patents, and they said that about 30% of patents granted are duplicates of the same idea. They also said that the one case Intellectual Ventures gives as their "poster child" of an "inventor whose idea was being used illegally until IV came along" actually had over 5500 duplicates granted in the same time frame (nevermind all the prior art that existed). That one patent, by the way, was traced to a patent troll company that is obligated to give Intellectual Ventures a cut of their revenue from it...and the creator of the patent is trying to sue them, IIRC. So much for "encouraging innovation by helping poor inventors".

    Another interesting statistic is that they cited polls claiming that 80% of software engineers say patents hurt their business and creativity. I know we've been repeating this to each other for years, but it's nice to see it backed up every now and then.

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