Intellectual Ventures Says Patent Trolling, Shaking Down Actual Innovators Is The American Way

from the check-your-constitution,-nathan dept

Ah, Intellectual Ventures, and its hamfisted attempts to make itself and its massive patent trolling operation look good. Today it tried to wrap itself in the American Flag for July 4th, by posting the results of a "survey" that it commissioned, pretending to make itself look awesome. Of course, as pretty much everyone knows, when you ask leading questions in a survey, you can get the answers you want. And, tellingly, IV doesn't bother to release the actual questions it asked, but it's not difficult to figure out how it was able to get the following results:
  • By a margin of more than 2:1, Americans believe that individual inventors contribute the most to society versus corporations, government organizations and universities.
  • The majority of Americans believe that allowing inventors to patent new technology ideas increases the pace of innovation. On average, less than 10 percent said the practice decreases the pace of innovation.
  • More than half of Americans believe that if an inventor comes up with a popular technology idea first, the inventor should not only be allowed to patent it, but always be able to enforce their patent rights and receive compensation from the companies using the same technology in their products.
If you ask questions about "independent inventors" in a vacuum, without explaining how Intellectual Ventures and those like it abuse the patent system by using vague or bogus patents to shake down actual innovators and force them to pay up to avoid being sued, of course you'll get those kinds of answers. Yes, lots of folks love independent inventors, but that's not the real issue. It's the smokescreen red herring that IV has tried to wrap itself in, when we all know it's pure hogwash.

First off, if "individual inventors" contribute the most to society compared to corporations -- then shouldn't we be skeptical of a massive corporation like Intellectual Ventures that appears to be sucking up tons of patents? Of course, IV will claim that it's "helping the independent inventor" by providing them with "much needed capital" or some such crap. But when reporters actually asked them to support that claim, the one "example" that IV gave those reporters turned out to be something else entirely -- a trolling operation on a bogus patent, which was later revealed to have involved a patent holder who mislead the patent office to get that patent and where Intellectual Ventures actually got 90% of the profits. That's helping individual inventors?

Second, it's no surprise that lots of people think that patents increase the pace of innovation. That's the story that's been told for years. But what people think isn't always what reality is, and at this point the number of studies showing how much patents have held back innovation is overwhelming. I think I'm going to go with the data on this one, rather than what random people who haven't seen the data think.

Third, on the question of the inventor being able to receive compensation, it seems pretty clear that the question here implies, almost entirely incorrectly, that companies who actually bring products to market are often "copying" the ideas from the inventor. That's almost never the case. If the question properly asked whether or not companies who actually built a product and then brought it to market successfully, totally independent of some guy who got a vague patent, should have to pay someone who had a vague idea that was never implemented, and which they never even tried to take to market, the answers would be very different.

Once again, IV seems to think people are stupid, and that all it needs to do is spew bullshit to support its position. What a sad place it must be to work at when the best they can do is to ask misleading questions that, even when answered as is, make "big corporation" Intellectual Ventures look so bad.
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Filed Under: individual inventors, patent trolling, patents, surveys
Companies: intellectual ventures


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  1. icon
    Niall (profile), 5 Jul 2013 @ 4:34am

    Re: The problem with Statistics

    Do you have a statistic for that... or a citation?

    The only people I see whining about statistics are usually people who are anti-science, or who don't like what the statistics say. Bit like all the wikipedia dissers.

    Yes, statistics can be abused. But so can many many other things - you need to keep an open mind.

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