Intellectual Ventures

by Dennis Crouch

Although it is unclear, Intellectual Ventures may now be the largest worldwide patent holder.  Part of the organization's strategy is to develop important portfolios for various industries and then ensure that each participant in that industry obtain a license. 

In a recent press release, Intellectual Ventures announced settlements with two additional memory device manufacturers: SK hynix Inc. and Elpida Memory, Inc.  IV writes:

At this point, nearly all the world’s major memory companies have licensed our portfolio.

IV continues to be secretive in its patent ownership strategy. However, several thousand of its patents are now properly listed in the USPTO assignment database. Unfortunately, these listings represent only a fraction of the company's ownership.
 
 
 

 

73 thoughts on “Intellectual Ventures

  1. I raised several counter points to those providing initial answers, and my supplying the points was done in a respectful manner

    LOL – pure BS. Your “kernel of truth” was only there to attempt to make the lie palatable. Your posts of September 28 (numbering 10) – taken as a whole – were your typical style of posting in insulting and misleading ways that are the true trainwreck.

    And you STILL have not addressed the points I have made.

    You have not because you cannot.

  2. Several initial answers were given, some by Prof. Crouch, some by Leopold.

    And by me. 3:36 pm September 28.

    I raised several counter points to those providing initial answers, and my supplying the points was done in a respectful manner

    Your accusation of “unintentional neglect or willful ignorance” hardly seems respectful. And for the most part you just dismissed the points we made as if none of us knew what we were talking about. I personally didn’t think your question was a very good one but the responses to it were sincere and thoughtful, which was more than your comment deserved.

    In fact, as you made clear later, all you really wanted to do was whine that Dennis didn’t expressly recognize that “[allegedly] valid points against an allegedly improper assumption allegedly held by Dennis about the negative effects of secrecy] have been made in the past.” Congrats. I’m sure Dennis will be certain to throw a bone your way when he posts on this subject in the future.

  3. We’re discussing policy, anon

    Actually MM, we were not discussing policy per se – we were discussing the fact that the policy discussion starts off assuming that secrecy is bad per se, and that that assumption is not only unwarranted, not only is it against the very nature of the item under discussion, but that valid points to this effect have been made in the past and yet the assumption continues to linger, unstated and implied as a given. Policy discussions should not start out ignoring points made.

    The fact that this needs to be explained to you is notable” because you are only too eager to ignore the actual discussion under way, the actual meaning of my posts, and the actual points having been made in order to launch into your baseless insulting attack and obfuscating the fact that you want a discussion of policy notwithstanding the points made. You don’t want to acknowledge that which you have no answers to, that which you only have insults for. Is it any surprise then, that you still have not addressed the points I have made (even though you claim I was indisputably wrong) and that you have only masqueraded under a thin veil of insults and meaningless red herrings and obfuscations? So not only is my statement NOT wrong, your statement about my statement is wrong. There is no confusion about what you are about.

    The ownership and enforcement of patents is not a fundamental right in our Constitution.

    Nice strawman, but that too has nothing to do with the points under discussion. Try to remember to actually stay on topic, will you?

  4. Again, MM, you could not be more wrong.

    MM, let’s review:

    1) The question

    The thrust of my initial question was not denied. At all. In fact, it was noted that my question was indeed “a very good question” and had merit. So your “IMHO unfair” is groundless. The intimations were simply not denied.

    2) The proffered answers

    Several initial answers were given, some by Prof. Crouch, some by Leopold.

    Other “answers” given were in the form of offensive jokes making light of one of this nation’s greatest tragedies and others finding such jokes “laugh out loud” funny.

    Still other “answers” were obvious Trolling attempts aimed squarely at the person who asked the penetrating question, seeking only to abuse, insult, accuse, obfuscate, move the goalposts, and kick up dust, rather than to actually discuss the points raised.

    3) My counter points

    I raised several counter points to those providing initial answers, and my supplying the points was done in a respectful manner. In fact, my points in response still remain unanswered. With all due respect, my posting on this thread has never waivered from a respectful tone to those that provided answers with a modicum of respect. It was only until the insults rained down that my tone was (duly) sharpened, and to those posting in insult or abuse, I met force with force (although I will state that I did not stoop to the level of those hurling classless insults – my force retains the high ground).

    No ground to stand on? MM, that would be you.

  5. Not at all. In the past you would surely have used a sockpuppet to obscure your views, thereby achieving the benefits Dennis noted way, way upthread.

    What the sam hill are you talking about?
    What does “benefits from sockpuppets” have to do with your legal non sequitur? And yes, it very much is a legal non sequitur.

    Why are you rambling so?

    But now we can see that not only would you prefer that entities be able to hide their ownership of patents, you would prefer that entities be able to submarine their applications.

    Submarine applications? Do you even know what that term means? Why are you kicking up dust on publications? You have enough on your plate not answering the points I have made on this topic.

    just as it’s useful to know that you were one “trainwrecking” the blog with your sockpuppets for years.

    No, that would be you. And you are still doing it.

    Ted Kaczynski wants to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Now that is a slippery slope argument. Of course, you have already accused others of that which you do. Just like your banal treatment of “weapons property” as a slippery slope.

    And I note that you STILL have not addressed any of the points that I have provided (which I will remind you includes what Congress has decided as its policy on how to treat patents – as personal property (or did you forget that I actually provided the legal cite, while all you have provided is your Charlie Sheen-like sarcasm and insults. Here’s a hint: act like an adult and lose the sarcasm and insults – they are not working for you anyway.

    The new Patently-O – just like the old Patently-O for those who can only post in insults like MM.

    Prof Crouch, dead prisoners are mounting again.

  6. All I see is your attempted insults MM – nothing based in law or fact and certainly nothing that addresses the points that I have made (in law and fact).

  7. This is the type of empty, yet still insulting post

    My comment was not at all “empty”, anon. Since you appear to have difficulty detecting and interpreting sarcasm, let me be crystal clear (again): your aphoristic statement about personal property is correct only to the extent that it’s utterly banal. It’s banal because, yes, property that you identify as “personal” property is “personal property” in your mind. That’s so special! But the rest of the world (e.g., the government) is not required to treat all such property equally just because you assert that the property is “personal.” See, e.g., the fabulous case of Greg Girard:

    link to thepriorart.typepad.com

    As for your sensitivity to sarcastic rejoinders at your expense, please review the thread. You’ll find the first insult was launched by you against Dennis’ for his allegedly “hidden” assumptions (“to continue to post with such … assumptions when those assumptions have had valid points raised against them smacks of either unintentional neglect or deliberate ignorance, neither of which is very satisfying”).

    You really don’t have any ground to stand on, anon. I’m deeply sorry to break this news to you … again.

  8. Sorry MM, but the number of people who own patents has ZERO to do with this conversation

    We’re discussing policy, anon. The number of people affected by a given policy and who those people are (e.g., their economic standing etc) is certainly relevant to any policy discussion.

    The fact that this needs to be explained to you is notable, insofar as it raises the issue of “unintentional neglect or deliberate ignorance” that you railed against (very unfairly, IMHO) in the context of Dennis’ original post. Of course, there you were railing against an alleged “implicit” statement that Dennis did not actually make whereas here we have a statement by you that is as indisputable as it is wrong.

    Try to remember, anon: we’re discussing patent policy. The ownership and enforcement of patents is not a fundamental right in our Constitution. If it were, your statement about relevance *might* have some merit. Funny that you seem confused about this really basic feature of your beloved “law.”

  9. anon said in reply to MM…

    Total legal non-sequitur MM.

    Not at all. In the past you would surely have used a sockpuppet to obscure your views, thereby achieving the benefits Dennis noted way, way upthread. But you can’t do that anymore (or more acccurately, you seem less inclined to do that now for some reason).

    But now we can see that not only would you prefer that entities be able to hide their ownership of patents, you would prefer that entities be able to submarine their applications. So in your opinion, the only “important” information that the non-patent wielding (=99.999etc%) members of the public really need to know is that their means of making a living could be infringing a patent and there’s nothing they should be able to do to prepare for that because (but for the onerous early publication rule) they should not know about pending applications, much less who owns them.

    This is useful information to know, anon, just as it’s useful to know that you were one “trainwrecking” the blog with your sockpuppets for years.

    If someone wants to “hide” their personal property, who are you to say otherwise?

    Ted Kaczynski wants to subscribe to your newsletter.

  10. Welcome Anon. We will have to agree to disagree on this one point. As I do not see anything practical about being nosey. As for characters like MM, that is the last person(s) I would ever want peering into my personal property.

  11. Try actually addressing the points that I have made.

    I did try. But as I noted, it’s impossible to address “points” such as “MM counters with a notion that is not only factually false” when you have not indicated (1) what you believe I was “countering”; (2) what you believe is the “notion” I was “countering” with and (3) why that “notion” is “false”.

    Then again, if it’s impossible for others to keep up with your strange, incessant attacks on their “implicit” statements then I suppose it is possible for you to believe that you are “winning”, regardless of the merits of those strange attacks.

    anon = Charlie Sheen? Maybe there is an important patent application for improved tiger blood pending, but currently unpublished. That would explain a lot.

  12. Total legal non-sequitur MM.

    Early publication is the Quo without Quid.

    Why would I fight for that?

    Once again, you accuse me of rambling, when it is you that rambles.

    And yet, still you do not address the points of law and fact I have presented. Make no mistake that when I ask for serious answers I am looking for serious answers that are grounded and that can serve to justify the curtailment of liberty that has run rampant as an ASSumed desired fait accompli.

    I have seen no such answers to date.

  13. That’s it MM? That’s your response?

    “Y-y-y-y-you are ranting and don’t speak English”

    Really?

    Try actually addressing the points that I have made. Use actual law or facts, (or heck, even cogent policy arguments). Try something.

    Other than your usual tripe that is.

  14. Much like anonymous blogging, the important things – the content of the patent itself – is perfectly available.

    anon knows this because back in the day he was there in the trenches fighting hard for the early publication of patent applications. Right, anon?

  15. “When ownership of patents and applications is hidden, owners are free to have their cake (assert their patents against anyone) and eat it, too (no estoppel).”

    anon: Not exactly true

    I’ll take the negative pregnant.

    MM seems to want to fan flames of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

    Right. That’s why I brought up “1984″. Oh wait — that was you. LOL.

  16. I wrote:

    “When ownership of patents and applications is hidden, owners are free to have their cake (assert their patents against anyone) and eat it, too (no estoppel).”

    anon responds:

    Not exactly true

    LOL.

    The rest of your post is simply stating that I’m being “inaccurate and misleading” or ignoring “the law”. With respect to the former, you need to try a little harder. There is nothing inaccurate or misleading about the comments you excerpted from my comment. They are very basic facts.

    With respect to your comment about “ignoring the law”, you have played this game before. It’s old. We weren’t discussing what “the law” is. Nobody believes that “the law” presently requires public disclosure of the true party of interest of patent grants or applications.

    MM wants to assert statements against different properties in total, seemingly neglecting the fact that even within one patent, claims survive against each other when one claim falls.

    To the extent this is even comprehensible (“properties in total???”) I never said anything of the sort. Are you high? All I said was that estoppel applies, in court and during prosecution. Statement made during prosecution of one patent can (and have been) used to affect claim construction (for example) in co-owned patents in the same technical area which are not continuations of each other. That fact is certainly relevant to my explanation of the problem with secret patent ownership. I explained why very clearly. It’s not a very compelling “argument” for you to state that “it’s not relevant” or to create a strawman (e.g., “MM seeks to portray…”) and attack that instead.

    Aggressive assertion is quite immaterial to the focus of the current legal discussion

    LOL. You just keep pulling these statements out of your behind like they are some kind of argumentative deux ex machina, coming down from the sky to rescue your baked-in ideology from whatever disagreeable facts are presented to you.

    As anyone reading the thread can see, anon, you merely disagree with my opinion about stricter requirements for public disclosure of patent ownership. That’s fine. Free country, etc. But your attempts to respond to my explanation(s) are pathetic. Heck, you asked a question at the top of the thread, a bunch of us responded sincerely and you proceeded to insult every one of us. What the heck is the matter with you?

  17. MM counters with a notion that is not only factually false

    What is the “notion” that is “factually false”? What assertion was I “countering”? You’re not being clear, anon. You’re ranting.

    Are you a native English speaker? I have to ask again. You say some really strange things and have a weird habit of parroting (usually inaccurately) idioms and phrases used by commenters with whom you … converse.

  18. <>Personal property is personal property. This does quite in fact means something legally.

    I’m sure it means something to you, anon. What does it mean to the Supreme Court? Be specific in your answer and consider, say, the treatment of guns and cars in your answer. If you believe that the Supreme Court is irrelevant to discussions of “the law” (your emphasis) then say so. That will explain some of your issues but it won’t explain all of them …

    o one – has seemingly understood the impact that the law makes in 35 USC 261

    We are (or were) discussing the negative effects of secret patent ownership, per your request. We weren’t discussing 35 USC 261. If you believe that this statute has “impact” on this discussion, by all means share your belief. Please quote the statute and analyze it for us in the context of our discussion.

    You want to be able to claim that my argument is a “slippery slope” argument

    By definition, anon, your “1984″ argument at 10:54 am is a “slippery slope” argument. Maybe you are confused about what a “slippery slope” argument is? That would explain a lot.

  19. Bottom line MM you are being a deliberate trouble maker with such posts and IMHO the blog would be better off without your antics.

    This is quite in fact the opportunity for Prof. Crouch to make this blog a better place.

  20. Thanks for the vote of confidence, 101 Integration Expert, but I am going to disagree with you on a relatively minor point.

    Your statement of “there is simply no practical reason whatsoever to know who the owners are” is simply not true.

    Point in fact, there are practical reasons for wanting to know other people’s personal property interests. Practical ones. Denying that these nosy reason exist is to deny reality.

    But what people tend to lose focus on is that these are merely practical ones, or reasons that would be “nice to have.”

    They are also coming at the expense of someone else’s rights. It is alarming to see that no one – and I mean no one – has seemingly understood the impact that the law makes in 35 USC 261 – where Congress explicitly sets out how these rights are to be legally treated.

    MM counters with a notion that is not only factually false, but is devoid of any legal impact.

    Sorry MM, but the number of people who own patents has ZERO to do with this conversation, and can only be brought up in an attempt to put some type of (slippery) slope on a playing field. You want to be able to claim that my argument is a “slippery slope” argument, but my argument is found on the equal and flat plane as explicitly put forth under law. Personal property is personal property. This does quite in fact means something legally.

    Try to grasp that MM.

  21. To my question of “Why is secrecy surrounding ownership intimated to be “bad” per se” MM supplies several misdirecting remarks:

    In the context of patents, the answer is rather straightforward: they are the products of a negotiation between between the government (the public) and the entity who owns them.

    This neglects the alienability of the property and the fact that most “Trolls” (as that term is commonly used, putting aside the “Trolls” like IBM for the moment) do NOT prosecute the patents they own and have no hand in this negotiation process, and further neglects the fact that a patent – as a product – is a culmination of such negotiation, and that the negotiation is in fact done at the time a patent is a patent. Straight forward crrp is more like it.

    Insofar as the patents are legal documents that are not linked to any unitary object (unlike real estate or other property rights)

    This is immaterial and at most misleading and dust-kicking. Congress has explicitly directed how patents are to be treated legally, and there is NO legal justification for treating them differently than how Congress has dictated.

    the scope of patents (and pending claims) is relatively malleable and can be substantially changed by the actions and statements of the patent owners (i.e., estoppel).

    See comments above about the culmination and prosecution – this is just more smoke and mirrors.

    This malleability, in fact, is what makes patents a highly desirable commodity provided that you have the financial and legal resources to assert your government grant aggressively.

    Aggressive assertion is quite immaterial to the focus of the current legal discussion – at least in the sense MM seeks to portray. In a different sense, the lack of aggressive assertion, or rather, the lack of ability by certain owners to assert or protect their assets may signal to others that infringement is not only possible, but probable to be able to be done with impunity. This is a negative consequence that is avoided to a certain degree with present situation and is a plus for the system overall

    For example, a patent owner could assert a patent in one case and make all manner of statements about the state of the art at time X in an attempt to rebut charges that the patent was not enabled. Such statements could (and should) be used by anyone (including examiners) to attack the validity of unasserted co-owned applications and patents.
    Pure wishful (and untethered to legal reality) thinking – MM wants to assert statements against different properties in total, seemingly neglecting the fact that even within one patent, claims survive against each other when one claim falls.

    When ownership of patents and applications is hidden, owners are free to have their cake (assert their patents against anyone) and eat it, too (no estoppel).

    Not exactly true, as the only time estoppel applies – in court – the true party of interest must be of record. MM seems to want to fan flames of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, rather than have his posts accurately reflect fact and legal conditions that are in play. To move the discussion forward, MM really should address the points that I have made, rather than play his games of obfuscation, dust-kicking, insulting and accusations.

  22. MM,

    This is the type of empty, yet still insulting post that has no place on the new Patently-O.

    Either say something that advances the conversation, refutes a point with logic, fact or law, or kindly STFU.

    Thank you.

  23. Personal property is personal property – no matter how you try to spin it.

    That’s pretty deep, anon. Please, please keep repeating that and don’t forget to click the heels of your ruby slippers that nobody knows about. Eventually the entire Supreme Court will adopt your thoughtful position, I’m sure. Maybe when Clarence Thomas is Chief Justice.

  24. MM, I seem to recall you promising Dennis you would not bait people and stick to substantive comments on the law.

    Yet you repeatedly ply this same old taunt in reference to anon, in some pathetic troll attempt to illicit just such a reaction as above.

    Now, I have broken my promise not to respond to your bait.

    Bottom line MM you are being a deliberate trouble maker with such posts and IMHO the blog would be better off without your antics.

  25. Personal property is personal property – no matter how you try to spin it.

    Keep digging

    Keep accusing others of what you do. You are the master of self-defeat.

    And by the way, try advancing the conversation by actually discussing the issues instead of blowing smoke.

  26. to continue to post with such (critical elements hidden as) assumptions when those assumptions have had valid points raised against them smacks of either unintentional neglect or deliberate ignorance

    Maybe Dennis should let us vote on these two alternatives. Although I can think of a third option that might also be informative.

  27. “This from the same commenter who used sockpuppets for years to create the impression that his views were those of a “majority” of commenters here.”

    That was not anon. That was Malcolm Mooney.

    Dennis, I seem to recall you saying that lies were not permitted here. Here’s your chance to prove it.

  28. It’s a straight-up call a spade a spade argument.

    Right. Because forcing a corporation to make public the non-fundamental government grants it currently controls is exactly the same as forcing Grandpa Hezekiah to publish a list of the denture creams in his bathroom drawer.

    Keep digging, anon. You still provide more entertainment at your own expense than anyone who’s ever commented here, with the exception of some of your sockpuppets.

  29. “This from the same commenter who used sockpuppets for years to create the impression that his views were those of a “majority” of commenters here.”

    This from the commenter that made crude remarks about child ra pe all because he lost a patent law debate.

  30. Hello Anon:

    There is no reason to perceive anything “bad” about secrecy of ownership. It is an inherent right of privacy to the owner. Just like having a patent application remain unpublished until issued is the right of the owner of the application. And since patents are published there is simply no practical reason whatsoever to know who the owners are.

    Of course it does not surprise me to find the anti patent and anti government types among those that see privacy of patent owners to be a problem.

    I suspect these types want to know who the owner is for the same reason the vocal minority wants to know the names of commenters on this blog ( while remaining anonymous themselves ) ; they want to attack the owners personally since they can’t attack the patent.

  31. “This from the same commenter who used sockpuppets for years to create the impression that his views were those of a “majority” of commenters here.”

    That was not anon. That was Malcolm Mooney. Uh I mean Hans Blix. Oh..I meant Orly Taitz. Oh..maybe they are all MM???

    Ding Ding Ding we have a winna!

  32. The greatest lies are those that contain a kernel of truth. So here with MM’s post. It is, however fatally flawed in several respects.

  33. You just got taken to the shed. Maybe try some better arguments?

    An off-point and classless punch line takes no one “to the shed.” Your thinking otherwise though does explain your propensity to post in insult, rather than substance.

  34. MM, talk about crazy stuff… I am now reading David Brin’s Uplift Saga, and near the end of the Uplift wars. It’s all about eugenics on a vast scale. Using gene manipulation and selective controls on breeding, animals such as dolphins and chimps are raised to sentient status and command starships.

    According to the saga, five neibhoring galaxies have been doing this for 3 billion years. Every existing race was uplifted, but one, man, who is the lone exception. The universal code is that an uplifted species becomes the client of the master for about 100,000 years. Then they are freed to become masters themselves.

    Obviously, the clients themselves are treated like slaves and “subhuman.” They continue to be subject to breeding control and genetic manipulation. The books show just how much these folk resent their treatment. Yet, overall, the books do not condemn the practice.

    Gives one a lot to think about. But once upon a time we sent a lot of National Socialists to the gallows for just what these books seem to advocate.

  35. (3) A Posnerian view of the economics involved would suggest that more openness would facilitate better decision making, including strategic decisions to infringe (gasp!), which would generally lead to better overall efficiencies.

    Speaking of Posnerian views, has everyone seen Eric (son of Dick) Posner’s weird screed on the First Amendment?

    link to lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com

    If anon is worried about the privacy rights of a few corporations then Prof Posner’s article will make his head explode. Big Brother, indeed. Thankfully nobody really cares what Eric Posner thinks about anything. Nice wiki picture, tho. LOL.

  36. “Depending on the stakes, some of the best and most straightforward arguments are never made because the arguments would place other intellectual property at great risk.”

    Kinda like in Therasense? Abbott may have been right about the state of the art in it affidavit, but it had made a contrary argument in Europe.

    But the point is well taken, MM.

  37. This changes the calculus a bit as it raises the question as to would you apply the same “transparency” to everyone’s personal property and effects? Hello 1984.

    1) The fraction of people in this country who own patents is close to nil.

    2) Nobody on earth is proposing the ridiculous approach to personal property you are suggesting. You appear to be making a “slippery slope” argument assuming a chain of events that is not credible. You have ever right to be paranoid but if you are worried about loss of privacy rights, the call to increase the transparency of patent ownership is a bizarre place to focus your attention … unless of course you are a representative or investor in a corporation with vast patent holdings.

  38. Why is secrecy surrounding ownership intimated to be “bad” per se?

    In the context of patents, the answer is rather straightforward: they are the products of a negotiation between between the government (the public) and the entity who owns them. Insofar as the patents are legal documents that are not linked to any unitary object (unlike real estate or other property rights) the scope of patents (and pending claims) is relatively malleable and can be substantially changed by the actions and statements of the patent owners (i.e., estoppel). This malleability, in fact, is what makes patents a highly desirable commodity provided that you have the financial and legal resources to assert your government grant aggressively.

    When ownership of patents and applications is hidden, owners are free to have their cake (assert their patents against anyone) and eat it, too (no estoppel). For example, a patent owner could assert a patent in one case and make all manner of statements about the state of the art at time X in an attempt to rebut charges that the patent was not enabled. Such statements could (and should) be used by anyone (including examiners) to attack the validity of unasserted co-owned applications and patents.

    It’s no wonder that entities like Intellectual Ventures want to keep their holdings secret. The more patents one owns and intends to assert, particularly when the patents are in related but diverse technologies, the more restricted one becomes in the statements one is allowed to make about the actual scope of the government grant and its relationship to the prior art.

    If anyone has any doubt about this, they should talk to a patent litigator with experience asserting (or even defending) a patent in court, where the patent is just one of many owned patents and pending applications covering the products of a practicing entity. Depending on the stakes, some of the best and most straightforward arguments are never made because the arguments would place other intellectual property at great risk.

  39. Q: What is more classless than making our nation’s largest tragedy a punchline

    This from the same commenter who used sockpuppets for years to create the impression that his views were those of a “majority” of commenters here.

  40. If a patent subject to a terminal disclaimer is assigned but the assignment is not recorded promptly, the public may not be properly appraised of critical facts regarding the patent’s expiration date.

    Failure to the record under these circumstances could be grounds for holding the patent that is referenced unenforceable even if it is not literally subject to the terminal disclaimer.

  41. Q: What is more classless than making our nation’s largest tragedy a punchline?

    A: finding such laugh out loud funny.

    Michael,

    Based on that, I am glad that you find my posts to be “tendentious ranting.” I celebrate the distinction as I make valid points while you make accusations and name calling the substance of your posts.

    And please pony up your “very good money” and send it to Prof. Crouch, who I am sure will make sure it gets to me (if there is anything left after postage), as I am not paid in any way from IV, nor affiliated in any way with that organization.

    I just happen to think twice before taking some duly granted personal property for the sake of others’ convenience.

    So instead of calling names, making accusations, or being classless, Michael, why don’t you try addressing any of the substance of my “tendentious” posts? Why not round out the discussion? Perhaps you could at least attempt to be like Leopold, who provides some principles on which he can base a cause of action.

    You might want to think more and laugh less.

    lib•er•ty/ˈlibərtē/ Noun:
    1. The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life.
    2. An instance of this; a right or privilege, esp. a statutory one.

  42. In-house, the assignee does not have to record nor appoint a new attorney. Maintenance fees can be paid by anyone.

    I really don’t see how one can tell who the new owner is if the old owner is not talking.

    Now, if the new owner sends out a notice of infringement, then I think the notice should identify the real party in interest. If not, I think the notice may be legally insufficient — although I haven’t seen any cases on point.

  43. Thank you, IANAE, for making me laugh out loud. A bit of a touch subject, but an absolutely bang – on analogy.

    This was definitely the funniest thing I have read all day. And a breath of fresh air from the tendentious rantings of “anon”

  44. Nathan Myhrvold, is that you? Of course, you will say no, but you certainly have spent a lot of time filling this comment thread with very one-sided argumentation.

    I wager very good money that you’re either an IV employee (including, of course, shady sub-entities) or at one of their outhouse counsel. Or is that outside counsel?

  45. Even the $800 an hour patent attorneys are having a hard time keeping up with the exponential pace of change all these years after a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a minor in art history.

    Where does one get one of these $800 an hour jobs, please? I promise I’m at least as qualified as that guy with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a minor in art history.

  46. it has the same weight

    It should have the same weight of “zero.”

    the impact of asymmetric information

    You are looking for extra information. The information that you need is already present: the patent itself. What you are really after is a convenience factor that is intrusive into others’ personal property.

    If someone wants to “hide” their personal property, who are you to say otherwise?

    Much like anonymous blogging, the important things – the content of the patent itself – is perfectly available.

  47. Leopold,

    I recognize that minds can differ on that point.

    However, I provide a rationale for my view (the removal of the incentive, the necessity to invent). While such may be a “mother,” I believe, that this is a feature, not a bug.

  48. I think the notion that encouraging strategic decisions to infringe (oh, yes gasp!) goes well beyond the “efficiency” argument available in contract theory and strikes against the very notion of patents.

    As to the first part of your statement, maybe. As to the second part, I don’t think my suggestion of “efficient infringement” strikes against the very notion of patents any more than the concept of “efficient breach” strikes against the very notion of contracts.

  49. If you don’t like the price the patent owner is asking for, invent something yourself.

    And if you don’t like people flying passenger jets into office buildings, get a pilot’s license.

  50. I agree that you’ve posed a very good question Anon. This issue is one that would probably do well with some comparative analysis… contemporary US approach that ownership identity need not be disclosed. And, as with most good questions, I don’t think that we’ll find an easy answer.

    Nice. But that was not my question. My question goes to the implicit wording of the post that basically ASSumes that the secrecy is “bad.” As you point out, plenty of studies can be done (with the only promise being that the answer will not be easy) – and yet, it is very easy for the “bad” to be implicitly put forth. Quite in fact, that this is at least the forth post on this blog this year that ASSumes that the secrecy is “bad.” And it’s not as if that assumption hasn’t been challenged, and yet the assumption is maintained (and maintained, itself shrouded as an implicit or intimated fact, taken for granted). I recognize that this forum is your forum, your bully pulpit, but to continue to post with such (critical elements hidden as) assumptions when those assumptions have had valid points raised against them smacks of either unintentional neglect or deliberate ignorance, neither of which is very satisfying.

    In some ways, being able to purse patent protection without revealing your name is something like anonymous postings to a blog.

    Now that was (chillingly) funny. I am just not sure you understand why. Nevertheless, this point ignores the fact that if you actually “pursue patent protection” by enforcement in the courts, you do have to reveal your name. This point was made previously.

    Knowing the ownership of a patent or a patent application has major benefits for everyone else in the marketplace… Of course, benefits of ownership transparency have to be compared with benefits of allowing secrecy. For IV’s part, their secrecy allowed them to purchase rights from a wide variety of patent owners without causing the market to shift that would have created hold-up costs.” (emphasis added)

    I think more important than merely thinking about the benefits to others is the question as to even having the right to take those benefits.

    It appears that you are seeking – for others – something that the true owner can give if that owner so wants to. If he doesn’t want to, what then? You take by force? I think this particular focus on patents is to a large degree misplaced. If the concern is with transparency, then the answer lies in corporate law, not patent law. Abolish all forms of corporate identification that runs the risk of lack of transparency. One model – purely transparent. Oops – seems like there are other concerns in play…

    Technically speaking, a patent is not real property, but personal property [see 35 USC 261]. This changes the calculus a bit as it raises the question as to would you apply the same “transparency” to everyone’s personal property and effects? Hello 1984. Again, these counter points have been raised before.

    As with my comment to LB, these are just some off-the-cuff remarks.

  51. (1) My libertarian instincts tell me that secrecy surrounding any rights or privileges granted to individuals or corporations is likely a bad thing, per se.

    Instincts are not an answer. Libertarian ones even less so (I also discount socialistic and communistic instincts, so don’t take this personally).

    (2) Common sense suggests (I think) that openness as to patent ownership is likely to help facilitate licensing negotiations, which I think is generally a good thing.

    I think that “as open as they want to be” is the prerogative of the owner of the property. So in that sense, this too is not an answer.

    (3) A Posnerian view of the economics involved would suggest that more openness would facilitate better decision making, including strategic decisions to infringe (gasp!), which would generally lead to better overall efficiencies.

    I am unfamiliar with what constitutes “a Posnerian view” (yes, I do know who Posner is). To the idea of pure openness, I am reminded of an adage my father used to tell me: It’s good to have an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. I think the notion that encouraging strategic decisions to infringe (oh, yes gasp!) goes well beyond the “efficiency” argument available in contract theory and strikes against the very notion of patents. There is no such thing as an innocent infringer for a reason. Also, by even contemplating strategic reasons to infringe, you “cheat” the very beneficial motivation to invent inherent in the patent right to exclude. If you don’t like the price the patent owner is asking for, invent something yourself.

    These are just some off the cuff remarks.

  52. One of the most daunting issues among the “the patent system is broken” crowd is the impact of asymmetric information – one side holds the cards and the other is basically an uninformed victim with deep pockets. Right now short of having $50K in hand, it is very difficult for the scientific, technical, and entrepreneurial class to understand what is patentable and what is not. It is equally difficult to know if you are potentially infringing someone’s patent with your latest gizmo. Even the $800 an hour patent attorneys are having a hard time keeping up with the exponential pace of change all these years after a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a minor in art history.

    IV perpetuates this whole “patent system is broken” problem because it hides it’s assets. If it is the largest patent holder in the world – prove it. Debunk the IV urban legend of 20,000 patents, 30,000 patents, 50,000 patents. At this point one could say millions of patents, it has the same weight. Come out of hiding and show your cards.

    If you want to improve the patent system, make assignees keep their ownership data up to date. If the data isn’t up to date and isn’t accurate, the patent shouldn’t be enforceable.

  53. There used to be (maybe still is?) a service that claimed to be able to uncover IV’s ownership for a $75,000 dollar fee. Good luck getting a private practice attorney to divulge who thier client is…

  54. Patents issue in the name of the inventors. On PAIR one can access the name of the attorney (and firm) prosecuting the patent, complete with address. Has anyone thought of using this information and asking?

  55. Just a historical note, the first recording statute required assignments to be recorded within three months.

    Story read this requirement to be the law as it is, if recorded within 3 months, it was good even against a BFP. The statute was then amended according to Story’s views.

  56. Dennis, “For IV’s part, their secrecy allowed them to purchase rights from a wide variety of patent owners without causing the market to shift that would have created hold-up costs.”

    Similarly, Walt Disney secretly purchased the land in Orange County for Disneyland.

    Today, though, Walt could have used eminent domain…

  57. I agree that you've posed a very good question Anon. This issue is one that would probably do well with some comparative analysis with other US ownership/market regimes such as the US real estate system; US stock markets; US litigation system. Each of these require varying amounts of public disclosure by the parties involved. The issue should also be compared with our contemporary US approach that ownership identity need not be disclosed. And, as with most good questions, I don't think that we'll find an easy answer. 

    In some ways, being able to purse patent protection without revealing your name is something like anonymous postings to a blog.  Knowing the ownership of a patent or a patent application has major benefits for everyone else in the marketplace.  Part of this is simply identifying the players, their patterns, and their likely direction.  The marketplace for patents is currently abysmal, and **part** of the problem is the lack of transparency in ownership.  This transparency is especially important in the world of patent rights because we lack other visible signs of ownership (such as apparent physical possession) available for other more-physical ownership regimes.  Of course, benefits of ownership transparency have to be compared with benefits of allowing secrecy.  For IV's part, their secrecy allowed them to purchase rights from a wide variety of patent owners without causing the market to shift that would have created hold-up costs.  

    As with LB, these are just some off-the-cuff remarks.

     

  58. That works for me – they’re off the cuff, and certainly subject to challenge. But you’ll likely win any argument you start at least by default – I’ve got an awful lot going on.

  59. Thanks Leopold.

    In deference to the gracious response, I will contemplate your answers awhile (before blasting them ;-) ).

  60. A great question. A few serious suggestions:

    (1) My libertarian instincts tell me that secrecy surrounding any rights or privileges granted to individuals or corporations is likely a bad thing, per se.
    (2) Common sense suggests (I think) that openness as to patent ownership is likely to help facilitate licensing negotiations, which I think is generally a good thing.
    (3) A Posnerian view of the economics involved would suggest that more openness would facilitate better decision making, including strategic decisions to infringe (gasp!), which would generally lead to better overall efficiencies.

  61. Why is secrecy surrounding ownership intimated to be “bad” per se?

    Serious question looking for a substantive answer.

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