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Posts Tagged ‘ intellectual ventures ’

Fighting Patent Trolls is the REAL Solution

Posted: Monday, Oct 7, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 54 comments
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Litigation, Patent Troll Basics, Patent Trolls, Patents

Last week ZDNet ran an article about how Kaspersky Lab took on and prevailed against Lodsys, one of the more notorious patent trolls operating presently. Lodsys first appeared on the scene several months ago when it started chasing Apple App Developers and demanding that they take a license to the Lodsys patent portfolio, and then later going after Google Developers who provide Apps for the Android operating system. Essentially, the model followed by Lodsys is to sue everyone, big and small and everywhere in between. Lodsys purchased its patents from Intellectual Ventures, who as they were amassing a giant patent portfolio lead the industry to believe it was for the benevolent purpose of taking patents out of the hands of patent trolls, thereby insulating them from such lawsuits. See Tech Guru Riles Industry by Seeking Huge Patent Fees. IV has at times found it easier to sell patents to willing patent trolls or has used various shell companies, but also now files lawsuits of their own. See, for example, IV Sues Motorola Again and Intellectual Ventures Becomes Patent Troll.

I have absolutely no problem with enforcing patent rights, and frankly I don’t think it should matter how the patents were acquired, but there is something exceptionally seedy about the use of shell companies and taking a back-end on revenues like Intellectual Ventures is routinely accused of doing. But if there is infringement of solid patents then there should be recourse. Having said that, it would be naive to pretend that there is not real evil lurking in the patent infringement realm. Stories of $500 to $1,000 offers to settle and avoid patent infringement litigation that would cost millions of dollars to defend abound. Some courts have openly acknowledged what feels like “extortion-like” activity. See Indicia of Extortion and Troll Turning Point? 

That there are bad actors is hardly surprising, particularly given the lucrative nature of the business model and the fact that many district courts feel as if they do not have the tools to do anything other than allow their courtrooms to be used as the main prop in the extortion-like shakedown. Of course, despite what some district court judge say, there are considerable powers that can be exercised if judges really do want to stop the bad behavior. See Judges Can Make Patent Trolls Pay. But the shell game played with the ownership of patents does add a layer of complexity to figuring out what is really going on and who is calling the shots. Why is it so necessary to have such secrecy? As Justice Brandeis once said “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” The troll industry could use some disinfecting. It is a sin that these nefarious actors tar those innovators with real, strong patents that are infringed.



Intellectual Ventures Brings Second Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Symantec

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013 @ 7:45 am | Written by Adrienne Kendrick | No Comments »
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Litigation, Technology & Innovation

Patent and technology firm, Intellectual Ventures (IV), recently brought a new complaint against computer security company, Symantec, claiming that the company infringed on three of its patents.  To be specific, the complaint alleges that three of Symantec’s products (Replicator, Veritas Volume Replicator, and ApplicationHA) “actively, knowingly and intentionally” infringed on three separate IV patents.  Symantec was also sued as part of a different complaint by IV back in 2010, along with Trend Micro, McAfee, and Point Software Technologies.

The First Round

In 2010, former Microsoft exec. and IV founder, Nathan Myhrvold, brought three separate lawsuits against the three above-mentioned companies and six others, claiming that they would not sign licensing agreements, yet they continued to use IV’s patents.  Apparently IV had held out on filing the lawsuits against the companies for as long as possible, and according to the company attorney, several attempts were made to negotiate with the companies; however, the negotiations were either unsuccessful or the companies refused to talk about the situation altogether.



Privateering: Patent Holding Companies Unleash Patent Portfolios

Posted: Monday, Feb 11, 2013 @ 3:55 pm | Written by Scott M. Daniels | 4 comments
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Litigation, Patent Trolls, Patents, Scott Daniels

The term “privateering” is a new one for some, but by the end of 2013, everyone will talking about it.  It’s the transfer of patent rights, including the right to sue for infringement, from a large company with a strong research and development capability to a patent holding company.

There is a tremendous amount of unrealized (“un-monetized”) value in the patent portfolios of many large companies.  Yet, for one reason or another, such companies have chosen over the years not enforce their patents in court or through a licensing campaign.  In recent times, however, a few of these companies have, one-by-one, started to transfer their patent rights to patent holding companies that are quite willing to enforce those patents.  What does the large company receive in return for its patents?



Kodak Sells Patents to Intellectual Ventures, RPX for $525 Million

Posted: Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012 @ 11:51 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 4 comments
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Posted in: Business, Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents

Eastman Kodak Company, the once mighty technology juggernaut that has fallen on hard times and found itself fighting to get out of bankruptcy, has completed a series of agreements that successfully monetizes its digital imaging patents. Under the agreements, Kodak will receive approximately $525 million, a portion of which will be paid by 12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, with each licensee receiving rights with respect to the digital imaging patent portfolio and certain other Kodak patents. Another portion will be paid by Intellectual Ventures, which is acquiring the digital imaging patent portfolio subject to these new licenses, as well as previously existing licenses.

Giant patent aggregators like Intellectual Ventures and RPX being involved will certainly make people stand up and notice, and perhaps also make them wish that they have entered the bidding.

The proposed transaction, which achieves one of Kodak’s key restructuring objectives, follows other recent major accomplishments that include an agreement for interim and exit financing for the company’s emergence from its Chapter 11 restructuring, and resolution of U.S. retiree non-pension benefits liabilities. Kodak’s monetization of IP assets further builds on its momentum toward a successful emergence in the first half of 2013.



Defensive Patent Pools: There are Surprisingly Few Options

Posted: Monday, Dec 10, 2012 @ 2:30 pm | Written by Raymond Millien | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Licensing, Patent Litigation, Patents, Raymond Millien

A multinational corporate client, who was concerned about potentially defending non-practicing entity (NPE) patent suits, recently asked me about its options for joining a U.S.-based defensive patent pool.  Upon doing the research, I was surprised to learn that there are only really three options: Allied Security TrustRPX Corporation, and Intellectual Ventures!

First, some background.

NPEs, as most of us know, are entities that own one or more patent portfolios, attempt to license them through targeted letter-writing campaigns and then file patent infringement suits against those letter recipients who refuse to enter into non-exclusive licenses.  In some cases, due the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s 2007 ruling in Sandisk Corporation v. STMicroelectronics Inc., NPEs often file law suits first and then attempt to negotiate a license with the accused infringer/defendant.



Patent Business: Deals, Acquisitions & Licenses July 2012

Posted: Friday, Jul 20, 2012 @ 12:35 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Business & Deals, Patents

Below is summary of some of the patent deals from the last several weeks that caught my eye.  If you have any “patent business” or “patent deal” news you would like to share please send me a message using our contact form.

 

IV Announces Silicon Labs as Newest Licensee

Silicon Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLAB) joins Intellectual Ventures’ more than 30 industry-leading customers around the world as a licensee of Intellectual Ventures. On Monday, July 2, 2012, IV and Silicon Labs, an innovator in the semiconductor space, announced that they entered into an intellectual property license agreement providing Silicon Labs with access to the majority of IV’s extensive patent portfolio. Although not specified by number of patents licensed, the IV portfolio consists of nearly 40,000 patents in more than 50 different technology areas.



An Exclusive Interview with Ray Niro, Mr. Patent Litigation

Posted: Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 5 comments
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Posted in: Attorneys, Gene Quinn, Interviews & Conversations, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Litigation, Patent Trolls, Patents

Raymond P. Niro is patent litigator with tremendous experience and a reputation that is larger than life. To some he is a champion of independent inventors and small business community, frequent clients of his. To others he is nearly the definition of evil.

It is certainly true that Niro is responsible for the coining of the term “patent troll,” a term first used by a journalist writing about a case he filed on behalf of a client against Intel in 2001. But how is it possible to characterize as a bad actor when those he represents are so often victorious? If you ask me the bad actors are the ones who infringe on patent rights, not those who stand up to have their rights vindicated. But I digress.

Niro has been trial counsel in literally hundreds of intellectual property cases, and since 1996, has won verdicts and settlements for his clients totaling more than $1 billion. In 2006, for example, Niro tried 6% of all the patent cases that went to verdict and, in the first six months of 2007, recovered the 11th, 15th and 35th highest patent verdicts (highest as of 2007), each resulting in a finding of willful infringement, an injunction and cumulative damages of more than $100 million.



Are Patent Wars Good for America?

Posted: Monday, Feb 20, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Written by Kenneth Lustig | 5 comments
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Licensing, Patent Litigation, Patent Trolls, Patents

To hear some critics tell it, the explosion of patent suits in the smartphone industry is evidence of a patent system that is fundamentally “broken,” at great cost to U.S. innovation.

Such histrionics, however, ignore one crucial but little known fact: throughout American history, the buying, selling, and litigating of patents has always been essential to U.S. economic success. Not only that, the truth is that today’s patent litigation rate is less than half what it was in the mid-19th century, a period widely-recognized as the “golden age” of American innovation.