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Kodak Patents Sold for $525 Million 117

An anonymous reader writes "Intellectual Ventures and RPX Rational Patent, two companies frequently referred to as patent trolls, have snapped up the troubled Kodak company's imaging patents. Bloomberg reports that Kodak has agreed to sell the patent portfolio for $525 million, despite previous valuations of over $2 billion." New submitter speedplane adds "How many stories have we read hating on the biggest patent troll of them all? Finally we see Intellectual Ventures making their case in a Wired op-ed, filled with everything you would would expect from a company suing the tech world on thousands of dubious patents: '...the system needs intermediaries within the market — companies like Intellectual Ventures — to help sift through and navigate the published landscape. By developing focused expertise, these patent licensing entities and intermediaries can function as patent aggregators, assembling portfolios of relevant inventions and providing access through licensing.' And my favorite gem: 'Ultimately, the users of those products — you — are the ones who benefit.'"
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Kodak Patents Sold for $525 Million

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:20PM (#42338215) Journal

    The complexity, and getting-sued risk, of tech patents are just so high that we need good, honest, businessmen like Intellectual Ventures to help us sort it all out for a small fee...

    Seriously, you know that you are a morally bankrupt fucker when you are the one making that argument in your favor. Sure, in countries with shitty regulatory environments and 'rule of law' that exists largely as a punchline, you have a class of professional 'fixers', who know how to make things happen when provided with a suitable supply of grease for the correct palms, along with a supply of thugs to which you can pay for 'protection' to ensure that bad things don't happen. Those, though, at least have the decency to keep their mouths shut, and recognize that they are a symptom of a sick, dysfunctional system. IV has the audacity to argue that needing to hire a fixer and pay protection money for the privilege of selling a product without being nuked into a smoking crater is a good thing. Where is the osteosarcoma fairy when we need her?

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:25PM (#42338249) Homepage Journal

    What Intellectual Ventures is trying to do (as they suggest) is create a patent environment where at least the relevant property can be bought/sold for proper licensing purposes. Consider instead the model where the Apples or Microsofts of the world hold patents and refuse to license (or do so reluctantly and at an extorted price) and ask yourself which you prefer. If reform isn't coming (and no signs would suggest that it is) then this might be the lesser of two evils.

    Or maybe not, who knows.

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:26PM (#42338273)
    Yeah, that's like saying a hyena and a lion were going to have a leopard hold the dead antelope they both want to eat.
  • by Hes Nikke ( 237581 ) <{slashdot} {at} {gotnate.com}> on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:42PM (#42338429) Journal

    For only $550M, why didn't Google buy the patents? That's pocket change for them (even for Sergey personally), and I'm sure Android infringes on one or more of the patents. Google could indemnify all Android manufacturers and software developers.

    -- or --

    For only $550M, why didn't Apple buy the patents? That's pocket change for them (even for Cook personally), and I'm sure iOS infringes on one or more of the patents. Apple could indemnify all iOS manufacturers and software developers.

    -- or --

    For only $550M, why didn't Microsoft buy the patents? That's pocket change for them (even for Balmer personally), and I'm sure Windows infringes on one or more of the patents. Microsoft could indemnify all Windows manufacturers and software developers.

    Do you see the problem yet? you'd have yourself a bidding war for a patent portfolio valued at $2 billion.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:45PM (#42338465) Homepage Journal

    To be fair, yeah, basically IV's fluffy marketing has a point. They're assholes, but they provide the service to the tech industry that they claim: the industry invents, patents, then sells their patents and gets to capitalize on the invention without the logistics of capitalizing on the invention. They lose their defense, though--they can't cross-license with these patents anymore.

    Really though think about it. You have either companies A and B trying to crush each other and all other competition with their patent portfolios, stalemating each other but keeping all small entrants out of the market; or you have companies A and B selling to company C, who uses Company B's patents to bleed money out of A and company A's patents to bleed money out of B (each sells with provision of having a license to their own technology), and also crushes all small entrants. Same shit, different day.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:50PM (#42338517)

    Patent law is intended (If you accept the original reading approach to the constitution) to promote the growth of the arts by ensuring that the inventor had, for a limited time, the exclusive rights to his creation. However, for copyright, that's now "until hell freezes over" and for patents it's "... on a mobile device"

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @07:36PM (#42342729) Journal

    Or you just go to China that don't give a fuck or play these little reindeer games to get your stuff built and let 'em sue a phony shellcorp you set up to take all the losses as a tax dodge.

    Don't learn from history yadda yadda the reason the west took off during the industrial revolaution is we didn't care about the old world patents and copyrights, this let our inventors stand on the shoulders of giants and build better tech. Now the USA is completely crippled by the blood sucking lawyers so its all gonna end up in Asia where they will learn by standing on the shoulders of giants to make even better tech. Hell look at the Loongson dragon CPU, here you have a MIPS CPU that has hardware accelerated X86 emulation through Bochs so you can have the long battery life of MIPS and get to have your X86 apps at nearly 85% native speed!

    But not only can you NOT build that in America, hell you can't even import that into America but Intel owns X86 and won't license under FRAND so that is that.This is why Asia will be the next to rule the roost, they can come up with truly novel ideas without getting cockblocked or sued into the next life by the blood sucking lawyers. Its a damned shame but what do you expect when a country is ass deep in lawyers and all the politicians are lawyers but a lawyer's paradise?

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead