IV Insights Blog

Posts tagged: Litigation

A Renewed Focus on Patent Quality

With the 114th Congress starting in January, patent “reformers” have stepped up their cries for legislation aimed at altering the enforceability of U.S. patents. Hearing those cries, lawmakers are again debating ways to reduce patent litigation by tinkering with the management U.S. judges exercise over the patent cases pending in their courtrooms. While the effort on Capitol Hill proposes to reduce patent disputes by making changes to the tail end of the system, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has taken a different tack. 

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Patently False

We’ve often wondered: If “patent trolls” and the “explosion” of lawsuits are strangling innovation as some critics claim, then why are the most blazingly innovative industries also the ones with the most new patents and lawsuits?

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What Explosion in Patent Litigation?

You won’t find a lot of coverage in the news, but we’re in the midst of a surprising and sharp drop in new patent lawsuits.   

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Software Patents: Just Because It’s in Code Doesn’t Mean it Isn’t an Invention

Within the loud and often incoherent chorus of anti-patent “reformers,’’ there’s a particularly shrill sub-group who rail against software patents.

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Five Fairy Tales To Quash in 2014

As Congress and regulators suit up for major battles this year over “patent trolls,” let’s put a lid on the fairy tales. High-powered industry lobbyists and their allies are swamping Washington with cartoons of hairy monsters (often in suits and carrying brief cases), baring fangs and wielding spiked clubs. There’s nothing wrong with a little entertainment to push a cause, but this debate is important to inventors and facts matter.  

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Memo to Congress: Courts Are Already Reforming the Patent System

It just got more dangerous to file frivolous patent infringement lawsuits – and that’s a good thing.

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What We’re Reading This Week

We’re still catching up from the holidays, but new research and opinions from a number of academic sources have come to the top of our crowded desks this week.

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Are Patents Crushing Entrepreneurs? Another Myth Busted.

The latest charge from critics in Silicon Valley and Washington is that patents and patent lawsuits are stifling startups and technology innovation. It’s an important issue, to be sure. Technology entrepreneurs and garage-shop inventors have been crucial to economic growth throughout American history. And it is true that patent litigation has increased over the past several decades. Is this draining dynamism and competition?

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The Unraveling Myth of Patent Troll Litigation

Something new is happening in the heated political debate over patents and the alleged flood of lawsuits brought by so-called patent trolls: cooler voices are starting to prevail.

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GAO Reports “Misplaced” Focus on NPEs in Patent Litigation

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its much-anticipated report  today on the increasing volume of patent litigation and the role of non-practicing entities – aka “trolls” –that own patents but don’t actually manufacture products based on those patents.   

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How to Punish the Real "Trolls"

Many times, I’ve acknowledged there is a real problem with so-called “patent trolls,” and that the heart of the problem is frivolous lawsuits. 

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Driven to Distraction?

Intellectual Ventures periodically comes under attack as a “patent troll” – falsely, I would argue – but sometimes these attacks provide what educators call a “teachable moment.”

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Are Patent Trolls the Problem or the Symptom?

Patents have been in the news again and as is often the case there is a lot of emotion in the coverage. With the recent White House action and numerous bills being introduced, we pulled some articles from the week that offer what we believe to be a more balanced view into the current state of the patent market as well as some alternative views and opinions on many of the proposed changes.

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Intellectual Ventures Comments on This American Life story

In response to This American Life’s updated story, “When Patents Attack Part 2,” Intellectual Ventures would like to set the record straight particularly with regard to some of the misinformation and speculation the story included about our company.   In addition to referring you to our original statement about the first story they did about our company in 2011, we’d like to offer the following facts. We also encourage you to read the statement we provided This American Life last month when they asked us to comment on their updated piece. We’ve included it at the end of this post.

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Why I Went on /.

Yesterday I took part in a live Slashdot Q&A. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Slashdot is a lot like the Roman Forum. Its online citizens are a lively and opinionated group and they don’t shy away from taking on topics, companies or people who intrigue or irritate them. 

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The Problem of Patent Infringement

As companies incorporate more and more features and capabilities into their products, assembling a patent portfolio on their own that covers them all can be challenging. More than a dozen years ago, the founders of Intellectual Ventures recognized this serious business challenge. We raised more than $5 billion from the investment community, and built a new type of business model to address it. 

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Is $29B the Point?

There is a popular number being circulated in the press right now stating that, in 2011 alone, businesses were estimated to have paid out approximately $29 billion in litigation fees for patent infringement cases. This estimate is based on findings from James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer’s “The Direct Costs from NPE Disputes” study last year.   

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Mr. Detkin Goes to Washington

Earlier this week I took part in a workshop in Washington, DC jointly hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ). The intent of the workshop was “to explore the impact of patent assertion entity (PAE) activities on innovation and competition and the implications for antitrust enforcement and policy.”  (See conference link for more information:

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The Red Herring of Transparency

The IP industry narrative has taken a curious turn in the last few weeks, shifting away from flaws in the system itself and focusing instead on the “transparency” of those who participate in it. It’s a story that has cropped up now and again in blogs and legal journals, but last week it broke out of the echo chamber and into a speech by outgoing USPTO Director David Kappos. While Director Kappos didn’t mention IV, others have. A recent op-ed in the legal journal Law360 asserted that, “Intellectual Ventures has allegedly established more than 1,000 shell companies to hide patent assets, gain the upper hand in licensing negotiations, and sue companies anonymously.”

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How Many Patents Make a “Patent War”?

When I speak on today’s “smart phone war,” I often point out to the surprise of my audience that such patent wars are nothing new.  Patent scholars call these wars by the more boring label of a “patent thicket” (proving once again that geeks like us just don’t know how to coin a good phrase).  My research into the very first patent thicket — the Sewing Machine War of the 1850s — has made me the “sewing machine guy” in the patent and tech law world.  I don’t mind; as I recently pointed out, as have others, there have been many patent wars since the 1850s, including the “diaper wars” and “stent wars” of the 1980s, which are all very well known within patent law circles. I must admit that I prefer being the “sewing machine guy” to being the “diaper guy.”

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IV and Olympus Reach License Agreement, Settlement

Today we announced that Intellectual Ventures has reached a settlement and license agreement with Olympus Corporation, the product of many months of negotiation between Olympus and our licensing and litigation teams. Olympus has agreed to license segments of IV’s extensive patent portfolio, which includes nearly 40,000 IP assets in more than 50 technology areas, and will also join IV's IP-for-Defense program.

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IV Settles Three Patent Infringement Actions with SK hynix and Elpida

When I joined Intellectual Ventures a few years ago, I began building a litigation team that would selectively enforce IV’s patents if and when it appeared to be our best path to achieving a license agreement with a particular company. As our CEO Nathan Myhrvold told me during my interview – and as he’s told the public for years – litigation is an inherently inefficient way to complete a business deal. Though I love my chosen profession and couldn’t be prouder of the excellent work done by my team at IV, I have to admit that I see Nathan’s point. It’s always been IV’s philosophy that signing license agreements, rather than heading to the courtroom, is the best way to do business.

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Intellectual Ventures Signs Cavium as Latest Licensing Customer

Intellectual Ventures announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of highly integrated semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for networking, communications and the digital home. The agreement provides Cavium with access to relevant segments of IV’s growing portfolio of nearly 40,000 patent assets, across more than 50 technology areas. Cavium also has the option to become a member of IV's IP-for-Defense (IPFD) program to help minimize risk of future litigation and maintain its focus on innovation. 

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Peter Detkin Op-Ed on Law360: “A Tale of Two HPs”

Today, Peter Detkin, founder and vice chairman of Intellectual Ventures, contributed an op-ed to the online legal journal Law360. The article provides a counter-argument to a recent piece on the “broken tech patent system” by Paul Roeder, associate general counsel for Hewlett Packard’s IP litigation department. 

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IV’s Ken Lustig in Forbes: No, the Patent System is Not Broken

This week, Ken Lustig, VP and head of strategic acquisitions at IV, contributed a guest column to the Forbes Leadership Forum in which he sheds light on common misperceptions surrounding the “smart phone wars” and the effects of patent litigation on innovation. Ken discusses today’s patent controversies within the context of the history of the U.S. patent system and the traditional role of patent enforcement in the development of new technologies. Citing a wealth of data and historic examples, he concludes that today’s litigation and trading of technology patents is not only in line with historic norms, but remains crucial to the development of new industries and ultimately the growth of the U.S. economy:

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Intellectual Ventures and Stoel Rives LLP File Successful Amicus Brief

Last November, IV worked with outside counsel, Stoel Rives LLP, to file an amicus brief in the case of Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc. v. HemCon, Inc.  As a company committed to protecting the rights of patent holders, and as patent holders ourselves, we believed the court’s findings could set a dangerous precedent which would the limit rights of inventors to fair and legitimate compensation. As an interested party in the patent space, IV will occasionally file an amicus brief in cases we believe will affect the industry at large.

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Wistron Corporation Becomes Newest Intellectual Ventures Customer

Today we announced our newest customer, Wistron, a Taiwanese company that is one of the world’s largest original design manufacturers (ODM) in the information communications technology space. What does that mean? When you buy an electronic device like a notebook PC, mobile phone or LCD TV, there is a good chance it was manufactured by a company like Wistron and then marketed and sold under another company’s brand name.

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Nathan Myhrvold Talks Tech with IEEE Spectrum

Last week, Intellectual Ventures CEO Nathan Myhrvold spoke with IEEE Spectrum magazine, offering his insights on Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility and the growing importance of patents in the mobile phone industry. Nathan discussed not only the current “smartphone wars,” but also the convergence of technologies and “winner take most” culture in Silicon Valley that precipitated the explosive growth of the smartphone market: 

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Congratulations to IV Customers HTC and Dashwire!

As reported on Friday, mobile phone maker HTC agreed to acquire Dashwire, a Seattle-based emerging technology company in the mobile space.

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IV Signs New IP for Defense Customer

Today we announced another addition to our growing list of customers using IP to defend their business. BlueCat Networks, a Toronto-based provider of IP address management solutions, has acquired patents from IV and joined our IP for Defense program (IPFD).

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