Is there something rotten in the state of IP?

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…)

2 thoughts on “Is there something rotten in the state of IP?

  1. hlebret Post author

    Some people prefer to react on my linkedin/facebook account a pity.Here is what I read yesterday:

    – from Jari

    “Even though IP is and has been my bread and butter, I tend to think the same way – though IP in this relation IMHO is more a question of NPEs (Non Practicing Entities) and how should they be judged in relation to those who really make the R&D effort or manufacture the products? In my opinion there really is no alternative for the system as such but something could be done for the general litigation schema (maybe). Often the IP that is leveraged by trolls, is bought from universities which have sold it as the companies have refused to buy the IP in the first place. By the way – looked through your material briefly and it seemed quite good (one remark though, grace period is possible in quite many other countries besides US, at least in Japan, I think it was 6 months and there were others as well).
    BR, Jari”

    – From Jean-Philippe

    “I advise a very good blog on the current fights relatedf to IP: http://fosspatents.blogspot.com

    Finally a colleague of mine at EPFL mentioned the very good “Let’s Reform Our Patent System Before China Beats Us At Our Own Game” at http://wadhwa.com/blog/2011/01/15/let’s-reform-our-patent-system-before-china-beats-us-at-our-own-game/

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Start-Up: the book » Blog Archive » Is there something rotten in the kingdom of VC?

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