Following my recent post, Is there something rotten in the state of IP, I could not avoid to add this provocative statement despite all my respect for venture capital. When Kleiner Perkins, one of the best West Coast VC (not to say one of the best VC ever), Charles River, one of the best East Coast VC and Index, one of the best European VC co-invest in an IP company (a “Patent Risk Manager”) such as RPX, I thought there had been a major event. And Randy Komisar who is mentioned in my latest post is on the board… Now RPX is filing to go public so as I do usually, here is the cap. table. All these data remain subject to the IPO date and share price which I just had to imagine… You may also be interested to know that the founders of RPX come from Intellectual Ventures…
I have been surprised not to read more about Intellectual Ventures’ recent legal actions. You can read more about the companies they are suing for infringing IV’s IP.
If you do not know about Intellectual Ventures, you should know they have filed or bought about 30’000 patents or patent applications and raised billions of dollars. Until now, nobody really knew why, but their recent actions show IV is just another patent troll.
Around the same period, Paul Allen has been dismissed by a judge about the complaint he had filed for another patent infringment. More here. I should add I read about both pieces of news thanks to the Xconomy web site.
This is an opportunity to say that I have never been a big fan of IP, intellectual property, patent applications and copyrights. I do not have good alternatives to propose, but innovation is often more a matter of speed and being more advanced that being protected by IP. I am aware it is not so simple though. I have worked in the field for a while and I still give general courses on the topic. Those interested may click on the picture below or on this link.
Intellectual Ventures was founded by Nathan Myhrvold, who was formerly CTO at Microsoft. Not need to add which role Paul Allen had at Microsoft. All this could be funny when you think about the fact Microsoft success was not based on patents (and Microsoft did not suffer that much from all the people who copied all their software…)