What is Your Experience with Patent Assertion Entities and Patent Licensing?

One difficulty with studying patent enforcement is that so much of the action goes on behind closed doors and outside of court filings.

A colleague of mine is looking to interview a number of different participants for a research study on patent assertion entities. Specifically, the colleague is looking to talk to the following types of people:

  • Solo inventors or small firms that have sold their invention rights to a patent assertion entity;
  • Solo inventors or small firms that attempted to sell their invention rights to a manufacturing entity but failed;
  • Entities that previously were engaged in manufacturing but now primarily license their intellectual property portfolios; and
  • Entities that have licensed technology from a patent assertion entity that previously was a manufacturing entity (see #3 above)

If you fit within any of these categories and would be willing to answer a few questions, please e-mail your contact information to patentlawone@yahoo.com.

I have been assured that “interview data will remain confidential” and that “information gathered will be used strictly for academic research.” The researcher here has no affiliation to any party on either side of the current debates on patent assertion entities.

– Dennis

109 thoughts on “What is Your Experience with Patent Assertion Entities and Patent Licensing?

  1. Since the patent office Kapos regiem eliminated the initial disclosure document program and adopted aplication technical perfection rules the worlds top inventions are going into a black hole of non conception since less than 1 % of citizens are able to meet the requirements and are being denied their cival rights to use of the system and start up by selling patents to get funded. PAEs provide some money but pennies on the doller but without the initilal disclosure document program this is all thats left. Restarting and strengthening the program for indegent inventors is the solution to the PAE delima

  2. We all know about MIT hero, Lemelson who “invented” the bar code reader. Yeah, that was a good one.I don’t know if Lemelsom not, but he was a troll by any measure.Next check out a company called Rodime. I don’t know if they’re still around are not, but they invented the concept of “form factor patents” and essentially held up the entire disk drive industry with a patent that nominally covered, and get this, every 3 1/2 inch disk drive. And why? Because such disk drives had magnetic disks that were 3 1/2 inches is in diameter! .

    1. Now some might argue that the Rodime patent only covered the specific means for achieving a disk drive of the claimed size. The problem was with the breadth of the claims and the uncertainty they brought. What the Supreme Court said in Halliburton was right on:”Under these circumstances the broadness, ambiguity, and overhanging threat of the functional claim of Walker become apparent. What he claimed in the court below and what he claims here is that his patent bars anyone from using in an oil well any device heretofore or hereafter invented which combined with the Lehr and Wyatt machine performs the function of clearly and distinctly catching and recording echoes from tubing joints with regularity. Just how many different devices there are of various kinds and characters which would serve to emphasize these echoes, we do not know. …In this age of technological development there may be many other devices beyond our present information or indeed our imagination which will perform that function and yet fit these claims. And unless frightened from the course of experimentation by broad functional claims like these, inventive genius may evolve many more devices to accomplish the same purpose. … Yet if Walker’s blanket claims be valid, no device to clarify echo waves, now known or hereafter invented, whether the device be an actual equivalent of Walker’s ingredient or not, could be used in a combination such as this, during the life of Walker’s patent.”If we had a solid doctrine that the patent claims, no matter how phrased, could cover no more than the disclosed means and equivalents, patent law would sit on more solid footing.

  3. Here’s one experience with a patent assertion entity:link to courthousenews.com…Good times:Alsup also slammed NPS founders Rakesh Ramde and Wilfred Lam for trying to create the impression that it “is something other than a patent troll” by making misleading statements to Fortinet and the court. “NPS has repeatedly represented to the court that it has a single employee, Gregory Cuke, its ‘director of business development.’ The record, however, shows that this individual has no actual involvement with NPS’s day-to-day business, even assuming that any such business takes place,” Alsup wrote. “Although Cuke agrees he has performed a few token hours of work for NPS, he denies being its ‘director of business development,’ denies having any knowledge of what NPS’s day-to-day business is, and denies being an NPS employee,” the judge said. “Aside from his alleged employment, Cuke is simply NPS’s landlord: Cuke is a real estate broker for commercial properties in east Texas and runs a company that subleases a one-room office to NPS.

  4. There has always been a strange sense of entitlement among the so-called “small inventor” or “innovator” community. It seems likely it’s a hangover from the insulated bubble they operated in prior to the Internet and the increased availability of information about the players who swim in the Magical Pool of Patentland. Somehow they seem to have convinced themselves that they were responsible for the economy. A couple serious people “make it big” and all the other “innovators” seem to believe that they, too, deserve their “rewards” because … computers!What doesn’t seem to be understood (or admitted) is that when a company gets to a certain size and level of success, the ability of that company to sell its products at a massive level becomes totally unhinged from the quality of the products or the “inventiveness” of the products. In short, these large companies can sell many times more units of virtually any product, no matter how crappy it is, to more people in a short period of time than a typical “small” business will sell in half a century (if you have trouble digesting this, consider the ability of a mediocre but “famous” musician to move thousands or millions of copies of “new” product that would be completely ignored were it sold under a pseudoynm).The grifting, skimming trolls who prey on successful computer-implementers are trying to transfer the luck and success of these larger companies directly into their own pockets by exploiting weaknesses and failures in the patent system. One could imagine copyright trolls doing something similar: study the trends in popular music, crank out short songs using the latest music technology (simulating a wide range of vocal and instrument styles beats etc), copyright them all, and then continually scour the output of the major industry players for “targets”. The key difference in this scenario, of course, is that there is not nearly much money to be had and it’s more difficult to create the IP than it is to crank out some garbage about how/what/where/who someone might want to share information with “using a computer”.None of this is to defend the atrocious junk being pursued at the PTO by Google, IBM, Apple or Facebook on a near daily basis. They are polluting the system at an unprecedented rate. Whether they file junk for any rational “business reason” or whether it’s done simply by lawyers wishing to share money with their lawyer friends is anybody’s guess.

    1. Malcolm, the point about failures in the patent system or the PTO or the Federal Circuit has to be emphasized. When the PTO (as abetted by the Federal Circuit) issues vague and indefinite or otherwise functional claims, obvious claims, claims to business methods, they arm the unscrupulous with a weapon that can be abused. Just to recall a famous incident in history, I reference the Seldon patent whose patent broadly claimed the gasoline powered carriage (car) when he had actually invented one kind of engine that no one used. It took the courage of Henry Ford to stand up and say no to that one.

      1. I reference the Seldon patent whose patent broadly claimed the gasoline powered carriage (car) when he had actually invented one kind of engine that no one used. It took the courage of Henry Ford to stand up and say no to that one.Yes. And today we’re talking about a technology that is now and will always be even more ubiquitous than the car, a PTO that issues nearly 100 times as many patents per year as it did in Ford’s time, and a litigious “give me my money!” culture that probably has spawned ten times as many lawyers per capita over that same time period.But at the same time we’re told that we shouldn’t criticize these changes because it’s just a sign that the “economic realities in the IP market are changing” (whatever that means). Or that it’s just a cost of doing business. And (probably the lamest thing I’ve read thus far on the topic) that the “only solution” to the troll problem is to “fight them in court”.We’ll see.

        1. It is not that you shouldn’t criticize, Malcolm, it is that you shouldn’t criticize in the way that you are criticizing.Leave out the misstatements of fact.Leave out the misstatements of law.Leave out the misstatements of what others post.Leave out the strawmen.Leave out the dust-kicking.Leave out the obfuscations and dissembling.Leave out the Accuse-others-of-that-which-you-do.Acknowledge and integrate into the discussion the valid points raised against the viewpoints you hold so dear. You have made admissions against interest – start with those. Then include that software is a manufacture and a machine component. Then include that business methods are captured in the Useful Arts (and have been throughout the life of the US patent system).

    2. The constant portrayal of people wanting to use the patent system as grifters cannot be a ‘norm’ for conversation, can it?Malcolm, get into a filed in which you can believe in the work product you produce.

      1. The constant portrayal of people wanting to use the patent system as griftersIt’s not the mere “use” of the patent system that earns one the title of “grifter.” Where do you get your ideas?

        1. Mere use includes enforcement of patent rights.Your zealotry against enforcement clearly impugns your view of the patent right (and those who hold such rights). Can you explain why such legal rights should be so ostracized?And a side note, Malcolm how is it that you (and your 241 comments) do not show up in the Patently-O community stats? Clearly it is not a ‘private setting matter, as Leopold also has his privacy setting in place and is still listed in the community.Why the hiding?

  5. I wonder if the folks who seem so offended by any attempt to counter the activities of patent trolls will ever look back and ask themselves if they might have done something different over the past, say, ten years, besides trash every dissenter as a “patent hater” or “un American” or “naive about technology.”I’m guessing the answer is “no.”

    1. I am guessing that your criticisms of the system are way off the mark. I am guessing that you are completely ignorant of information processing and innovation. I am guessing your characterization of the people that criticize your views speaks more of you than anything you have every written.I am also guessing that others like me have offered very constructive suggestions to help improve our great system. For example, overturn Benson so that information processing is properly characterize. Do not appoint judges to the federal circuit who have no science background and no patent or very little patent law experience. Pass legislation that makes it clear that the SCOTUS should stop trying to enforce their common law from prior to the 1952 patent act. I have also suggested that the way to deal with less than sincere plaintiffs is to even up the cost of litigation upfront by giving the defendant the right to bifurcate the trial into an infringement portion prior to an invalidity portion. This would make it so that the costs are about even upfront so the defendant doesn’t have to spend a lot of money making invalidity arguments upfront.I am sure that you are a tro$$.

        1. Please do go through the paper and pencil test while deriding the Church-Turing Thesis.But, I know you and J. Lourie have the same test: can I image that a machine could do it and if so, then it is obvious and has no structure. Let’s call this the science fiction test. If one can write a science fiction story that includes the technology, then no patent should be issued for the invention. — J. Lourie & MM.

          1. If one can write a science fiction story that includes the technology, then no patent should be issued for the inventionIf the invention is functionally claimed at the same level of generality that it was described in the so called “science fiction”, then you’re absolutely correct that the claim should not issue.By the way, when some technology is described functionally and in a manner that suggest that the technology is desirable, and then a short time later a device or composition with the recited functionality appears, the description isn’t really “science fiction”, is it? It’s more like “an accurate prediction of the future”, which is the sort of description that tends to make a claimed invention obvious.That’s why so much of the computer-implemented junk is obvious. These things are a given: computers will get faster, they will get smaller, they will get cheaper, they will continue to process any kind of information you can imagine, whether that information is information about a person in a grocery store who is buying similar products as you except for one other product that you might also want to buy, or whether that information is information about the number of mosquitos in your yard or your neighbors yard, or whether that information is transmitted from a bike to a car or from a car to a bike, including a robot bike wherein the rider is wearing a device with a computer implanted in it or whether the rider has a computer implanted in his body, or whether that information can be sold to someone else for a price that is determined by a computer that is a part of a system that includes a satellite with a copyrighted logo or trademark on its exterior. This is what computers do. It’s what computers are capable of doing right now. So there’s a bunch of “innovation” for you. Is it valuable “innovation”? I guess not because now you’ll never get that broad patent that you could use to troll someone else with.

            1. Did I say “grocery store” upthread? I mean “car part” store. Or actually I meant “department store.” I mean, “shoe store.” No, really, I meant “online store selling a combination of copyrighted and public domain digital audio or video content”. Actually I meant a store that sells smell-o-vision sets.And did I say “car”? I meant a car travelling to another state, where the state accepts credit cards, where the credit cards are accessible by a computer provided a user has a passkey and can answer at least two security questions, wherein one security question relates to a user account that is non-expired and it doesn’t include a question about a favorite book or food.Man, “innovating” is super super fun! I can see why “the founders” wanted to encourage it so badly.

            2. “t’s more like “an accurate prediction of the future”, which is the sort of description that tends to make a claimed invention obvious”I am pretty sure that that is not what ‘obviousness’ means.You are retreading the vacuous “House” argument yet again. See the Morse case. See 35 USC 101 – any improvement thereof.And please, stop the vacuous accusations of ‘troll’ – that is simply no way to engender a conversation.

            3. I am pretty sure that that is not what ‘obviousness’ means.I’m pretty sure I didn’t define “obviousness” so I don’t know what you talking about.I’m also pretty sure that when someone in the prior art suggests making something, that’s called a “suggestion”, which is certainly relevant to any obviousness analysis.

            4. Enablement is the problem with the science fiction test you and Lourie are using. A database, for example, would have been impossible for a POSITA to have constructed prior to the invention of the relationship database. One of many examples of how often decades pasted before solutions to information problems were found.And, by the way, the psychotic Lourie test included at least two such solutions where decades pasted before solutions that Lourie classified as having no structure were found.You obviously have no desire for a real conversation. Keep throwing the mud Palin boy.

      1. Pass legislation that makes it clear that the SCOTUS should stop trying to enforce their common law from prior to the 1952 patent act.Oh, so you can obtain patents on purely mental processes.I wasn’t aware that there was much public support for that.

      1. That accusation is a lot like the judicial “Lochner” accusation: both sides wield it.It also reminds me of the admonition by Justice Stevens against using the patent law 101 as a nose of wax (just before he himself attempted to do that very thing in the Bilski decision.

  6. “Solo inventors or small firms that attempted to sell their invention rights to a manufacturing entity but failed; “There ought to be a gazillion of these, since big companies long ago adopted the practice of not receiving any outside submissions, or receiving them only if the outside submitter chose to forfeit much of its rights just to get heard.When they do get them, they send them to R&D where the high-paid staff has an incentive to say anything they did not invent can’t be worth anything.

    1. “There ought to be a gazillion of these, since big companies long ago adopted the practice of not receiving any outside submissions, “Why do you suppose that was?

      1. Great question. Why would a successful manufacturing firm not bother accepting submissions from people who are not employed by the firm? It boggles the mind. Could such a firm possibly employ enough talented “innovators” itself that it might reduce or eliminate the inevitable inefficiencies created by negotiating with outside “solo inventors” and “small firms”?

        1. Are you sure the calculus isn’t closer to: Solo inventor ain’t got a dime and sure can’t afford to sue us, so why would we even consider paying for a license?

          1. Solo inventor ain’t got a dime and sure can’t afford to sue us, so why would we even consider paying for a license?If you “ain’t got a dime,” then why are you filing patent applications? Maybe you should get a job and learn how to manage your money.I suspect that the vast majority of these “solo inventors” have plenty of money are much better financially than 90% of the population in this country. If any of them have strong patents and they are being infringed, they can surely afford to file the lawsuit and they will likely succeed. The fact that they are “solo” makes the process a lot less expensive than it otherwise would be. Contingency attorneys abound who would love to handle the case, assuming the patent is reasonably robust.What seems to be troubling the “solo inventors” you speak for, Les, is that they want their millions of dollars right away without the “hassle” of having to actually sue Big Bad Stealing Company. Gosh, life is really tough for these impoverished solo “innovators” who can’t get their millions of dollars tomorrow. My heart bleeds for them.

            1. “If you “ain’t got a dime,” then why are you filing patent applications?”One does wonder. “If any of them have strong patents and they are being infringed, they can surely afford to file the lawsuit and they will likely succeed.”Unless your name is patent hawk and you bad mouth the judiciary, on whom you are depending, throughout your entire trial.

            2. “If you “ain’t got a dime,” then why are you filing patent applications? Maybe you should get a job and learn how to manage your money.”Funny that 6 chimes in in agreement with this – after my showing him that his mancrush Dudas provided an award winning article that shows that the US patent system was EXPRESSLY put together NOT to be a Sport of Kings.

            3. “dime” was obviously figurative, 6.But let’s make the process cost an actual dime. I would be up for that. Then we could move the massive amount of Malcolm’s QQ off of the blog pages into something that might actually make a difference.

            4. Tell you what we could do anon, is cancel filing fees etc. and then institute an actual tax on innovation in the form of a tax on all revenues due to licensing or litigation. Difficult to enforce but it might be worth a look.

            5. The point is, why is litigation the only way the little guy gets paid? Why can it not be business deal? Just because most of the posters here are lawyers does not mean the world is about litigation.

            6. I think a poster above also noted the internal politics involved. In a former life, I represented micro entities, i.e., garage tinkerers. These inventions were typically improvements to existing products. First, most companies won’t talk to you unless you have a patent. They don’t want to be tainted with “know-how”. Second, if you do get through the suggestion for an improved product goes to the BD department. The BD group sends it to R&D for evaluation. The internal R&D group didn’t come up with it, and that’s supposedly their job in the company – to improve the company’s products. Acknowledging that someone else had a better idea when its your job to come up with the better idea is problematic. If someone else did it, why does the company need you? Hence, most outside ideas get pooh-pooed…

            7. “They don’t want to be tainted with “know-how”.”Lolwut? They don’t want to be “tainted” by knowledge of how to do something? Give me a break. “Acknowledging that someone else had a better idea when its your job to come up with the better idea is problematic. If someone else did it, why does the company need you?To come up with other good ideas? “Hence, most outside ideas get pooh-pooed…”That couldn’t possibly be because “most ideas period” are sht right?

            8. Golly, are you the re-incarnation of that commissioner who in about 1899 said just about everything that could be invented was already invented and soon we could close down the Patent Office?

            9. It is not a myth and it did happen.The attempt to rewrite history and change the occurrence into a myth is not supported by the patently-o link you provided.

            10. It is not a myth and it did happen.Because you say so, Patent Jeebus? Wow. That’s some powerful magic. So you just went back in time and put some words in the patent commissioner’s mouth, huh? Are you going to change the Wikipedia entry on that myth, too? Bow down, everyone! Patent Jeebus is here to tell us what is myth and what is not.

            11. Vacuous name calling is one thing. Religiously offensive name calling is another.How does this even come close to a ‘norm’ for conversation?

            12. It’s been known to be a myth for a long time now anon. Sorry if you didn’t get the memo.

            13. Cowboy, I can come up with 20 new and usually non-obvious ideas for methods or products a day. All 20 of them will usually be worth jack squat with many of them being worse than the old methods/products. Only a select few are worth anything much. This is reflected in most patents never amounting to much. That’s just the way things work. This has nothing to do with everything that could be invented having been invented or being obvious.

            14. 6,Your ignorance of the real world is on display yet again.Think treble damages.And yes, companies really do tell their employees NOT to go out and be tainted with “know-how.”This is not a new idea, 6. In fact, I posited a solution to this issue before: make knowledge of everything posted in the patent system presumed known for treble damages.That would force people to pay attention to what is patented. That would align the goal of the patent system with reality. Put more teeth into patent rights – not less.

            15. “In fact, I posited a solution to this issue before: make knowledge of everything posted in the patent system presumed known for treble damages.”Or just eliminate treble damages.

            16. The BD group sends it to R&D for evaluation. The internal R&D group didn’t come up with it,Or else the idea was already explored and, for one reason or another, it was decided that it wasn’t worth pursuing. That happens, too. A lot.

            17. “The point is, why is litigation the only way the little guy gets paid?”Because that is the way the patent system is set up? “Why can it not be business deal? “Because it is a government entitlment program by its very nature?

            18. The point is, why is litigation the only way the little guy gets paid? Why can it not be business deal?Maybe, just maybe, for any number of reasons, the “little guy” needs to adjust his/her expectations when he is out shopping his patent to a “bigger guy”.

            19. Because “little guy” wants millions of dollars. Bigco typically has to license thousands of patents to manufacture, e.g., a consumer electronic device and can’t afford to pay millions for every patent license. Therefore, litigation.

          2. In your scenario why would the inventor even disclose the invention? Why not just let his prov rot? MM is talking about specifically why the big corp, supposedly interested in making money, would not be interested in ideas about how to make more money from some outside folks eager to tell them.

            1. He gets no benefit from letting it rot. Neither does the corp, and neither does the public. That’s my entire point. You want this whole thing to be a “business deal”. In business deals you need to have two willing partners. if the corporation (partner a) isn’t willing from the get go (which they aren’t according to you) then there is no business deal to be had, regardless of government entitlement programs trying to help their be one. What you seem to ignore, constantly, is that patents are a government attempt to get there to be a business deal. But they do so by having implemented an entitlement program that is only truly enforcable through litigation. That is the root cause of why this isn’t a business deal very often.

            2. “Entitlement program” is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? Those benefit people for being able to fog a mirror.A patent only is issued to someone who creates and discloses how to make and use a new, non-obvious, useful invention. In exchange for that disclosure, the inventor is given the right to exclude others from the invention: the essence of a property right. Property rights to land are enforced analogously, and you don’t have to litigate every business deal that involves property rights to land. But the prevailing wisdom on this board seems to be that any effort to do an intellectual property deal must first be the subject of a lawsuit.

            3. “”Entitlement program” is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?”Read 35 U.S.C 102 and tell me with a straight face that calling the patent system an entitlement program is any more or less valid a statement as it would be for social security. Just for kicks you can read the social security statute as well. “Those benefit people for being able to fog a mirror.”Many do. Others don’t. For instance, you must work to get in on the social security scheme (or do some of the other things, disability etc.)”A patent only is issued to someone who creates and discloses how to make and use a new,”And social security is only issued to someone who meets the statutory criteria, which happens to be more than being able to fog a mirror. “Property rights to land are enforced analogously, and you don’t have to litigate every business deal that involves property rights to land.”Very true. Now imagine we implemented an entitlement program that allowed you to take away a little chunk of people’s land (analogous to their ability to make, use and sell whatever the f they want) and that we allowed the person who put in for the entitlement to claim whatever land they pleased so long as it hadn’t been previously described in detail. And, on top of that, let’s imagine we allowed them to draft their claims however they personally saw fit. Now imagine just how many property deals would have to be litigated. Entitlement programs. They may be necessary, but they’re the antithesis of the free market and business deals.

            4. And I’d like to reiterate my question as to why you guys think it is that the corps don’t want submissions from folks. I mean, and I’m just throwing this out there, that it is often because of the way the patent system is setup?

            5. I was in-house once and among in-house patent lawyers the conventional wisdom is not to sign NDA’s with garage inventors because then you have risks that the garage inventor (the incipient form of an NPE) will sue for violation of the NDA, and that carries over to all disclosures and even patented submissions.

          3. Well, that could be. So when the solo inventor sells out to an NPE, that strategy gets gutted. That is why the big companies are so miffed, because their strategy of stiffing the little guy ain’t working so well these days.

            1. Stiffing the little guy? I thought you said they don’t accept their submissions in the first place. Nothing changed hands, nobody was stiffed.

            2. Thanks for the editorial supervision. Stiffed does sound like a contract was broken, when in fact there was no contract.The bug guy just appropriated the invention with no regard to whether it was already owned by the little guy or not.

            3. I thought we were talking about the time period before the big company has appropriated the invention into a product line or whatever. The time when the tiny inventor comes along with their big idea that the big corp hasn’t thought of. If the big corp does eventually think of the invention on their own, why should they volunteer to pay an outside person for it? A government entitlement program? Is that the reason why? I mean, surely they wish to keep their money, and who knows, perhaps they don’t even like government entitlement programs in the first place. You can’t legislate that people will be thrilled with giving other people money because the government would like them to.

            4. “You can’t legislate that people will be thrilled with giving other people money because the government would like them to.”But you can legislate the ability to exclude someone else from the items in a patent.Oh wait, we already did that.

            5. “But you can legislate the ability to exclude someone else from the items in a patent.”Thanks for bringing up something irrelevant to our conversation about making the whole thing into a business deal anon.

        1. I do not know to whom you are referring. NAL? Broje? Those are the big name girls I recall around these here parts.

  7. Why are you not interviewing your own university? They have patents. They monetize them. But they don’t produce a single patent product? Universities are some of the largest NPEs we have!!!

    1. It appears that the “universities do it too!” “argument” in defense of patent trolling is becoming quite popular. I’m not sure why, as it’s a pretty silly defense of patent trolling, for both logical and public relations reasons (people typically understand that research universities, unlike patent trolls, are in the business of discovering new stuff that might have value).They have patents. They monetize them. But they don’t produce a single patent product?Key distinctions here: Universities are generally in the business of creating intellectual property for other people to commercialize, rather than in the business of scouring the graves of dead, failed companies for IP that could be “monetized”. The primary purpose of Universities for existing is not to “monetize patents.” As far as “creating patent products,” the typical University inventor has usually literally (not constructively) reduced something novel, useful and non-obvious to practice, which is more than can be said for the typical patent troll.

      1. Your implied position is bizarre.You seem to be saying the activities of NPE’s are evil, but if NPE activity is not your primary purpose, you are not evil.Can we generalize that position to other areas? If you are a murderer, you are evil. But if you only murder as a hobby, then its ok?Why is it evil to buy patents from people that want a quick payout in order to reap long term gains from enforcing those patents? Are the patents less valid once sold by the inventors/original assignee?

        1. You seem to be saying the activities of NPE’s are evilYour words, not mine.if NPE activity is not your primary purpose, you are not evil.Wow, you’re getting warmer. Why not just read what I actually wrote. It’s pretty clear.Why is it evil to buy patents … in order to reap long term gains from enforcing those patents [when you produce nothing covered by the patent and have no intent of doing so, ever]It’s not “evil.” It’s just something that shouldn’t be encouraged because it warps the patent system from a system designed to protect manufacturers who develop new products (and processes for making those products) into a gambling casino wherein the already wealthy can extort, skim or grift money from people who created successful businesses.people that want a quick payoutEverybody wants a “quick payout”, including the trolls. That’s why they aggregate as many junk patents as possible.Are the patents less valid once sold by the inventors/original assignee?In fact they are more valuable as offensive weapons because the patent owner with no products to protect has nothing to lose and everything to gain by asserting the patent as recklessly as possible. This is doubly true when the patent is close to the end of its life.

          1. I think you missed the point. Universities are pretty much by definition patent trolls. They troll for licensees to their patents. Universities certainly are known neither for their manufacturing activities nor their practice of dedicating their patents to the public domain. Perhaps YOU should read what YOU actually wrote (consulting a dictionary, if necessary, on the definition of “troll”) and own up to the clear implications of your own words.

            1. Universities are pretty much by definition patent trolls. You can keep repeating that as often as you want but it’s not persuasive. They troll for licensees to their patents.More accurately, they seek to license their patents (and patent applications) based on intellectual property that the University itself created and, in nearly ever case, actually reduced to practice (in at least one embodiment). Thats not at all how the typical patent troll operates. Are Universities now preferentially licensing their IP to patent trolls and aggregrators who have no intention of implementing the technology? That might be true, but I’ve not aware of any evidence showing that. I would hope that Universities remain mindful of their mission statements when they choose licensees.Universities certainly are known neither for their manufacturing activitiesThat’s really the only thing that Universities and trolls have in common, other than the fact that both own patents. But that hardly makes Universities synonymous with patent trolls. As noted above, Universities are very well-known for disseminating knowledge and discovering useful stuff. Universities actually have a pretty great reputation in this country, in spite of the fact that certain groups (primarily the same rightwing “patent apologist” groups that enable patent trolls) relentlessly attack “academia” in general. nor their practice of dedicating their patents to the public domain.Why would Universities be “known” for “dedicating patents to the public”? Again, the business that Universities are known for is education and the production and dissemination of knowledge, not “making money with patents”. In fact, I’m quite certain that Universities dedicate more intellectual property to the public on a daily basis than patent trolls dedicate to the public in 100 years. Have you ever worked for a University? Have you ever prosecuted patents for a University? I have. They are extremely picky about what they pursue patent protection for, and justifiably so.

            2. Frankly I’m allways kind of surprised the government even allows universities to hold patents.

            3. You of course know that actual reduction to practice is not a legal requirement.I’m just not sure why you think it so important to attempt to spin is like it is though.

            4. actual reduction to practice is not a legal requirement.I never said it was and there was no “spin” attempted.Friendly reminder to you: try not to act like a “crazy person”. Address the statements I make, not the ones you wish I made.

            5. You of course know that actual reduction to practice is not a legal requirement.I never said otherwise, nor did I “spin” anything to suggest otherwise.

            6. Clearly, you have “drunk the Kool-Aid.”As an initial matter, you clearly do not understand the term “troll.” Again, you might want to look up the term in a dictionary.Universities they do not hold patents for defensive purposes. They hold patents to get licensing fees. When was the last time you heard of a university giving out licenses without getting a licensing fee or some other cut of profits or ownership interest in return? In other words, universities do not use patents defensively. They use them offensively, like patent trolls. “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”It is irrelevant that: “[u]niversities are very well-known for disseminating knowledge and discovering useful stuff.” Such activities have nothing to do with the university’s patent licensing activities. Universities do not patent to disseminate knowledge. They do so to get licensing fees. Why pay the 25K to 30K in prosecution and maintenance costs for any patent when publication is all that is needed to “disseminate knowledge”?! Paying for patents for the sole purpose of “disseminating knowledge” when lower cost publication options are available would constitute serious financial mismanagement on the part of universities.And, as to your statement that universities “are extremely picky about what they pursue patent protection for, and justifiably so,” well duh! All patent trolls are picky as to what they pay for patents. They want to make a profit! No one want to pay for patent from which there is no hope of some benefit. Most ideas are not patent worthy because there is little or no prospect of making back the initial investment (prosecution and maintenance costs).So you have prosecuted patents for a University? Well la di da! Jim Jones was also able to hobnob with fancy lawmakers. Just remember, those who died at Jonestown did not think that those who warned against “drinking the Kool-Aid” were persuasive either.

            7. The archives (if they ever make it back) also show that I have provided links to the works of the 271 blog that also verify that the assertion of ‘low quality’ and patent trolls is a fallacy.Malcolm, of course, already knows this, as I posted those links in conversation with him.Maybe he just was not listening.

            8. the assertion of ‘low quality’ and patent trolls is a fallacy.Exactly what is the assertion you are referring to? Are you suggesting that patent trolls don’t assert junk patents?

            9. Clearly, you have “drunk the Kool-Aid.”As an initialBlah blah blah insult insult insult insult trolls are great and if you don’t understand that then you don’t understand universities either blah blah blah.C’mon, man, get to the point already.Universities do not patent to disseminate knowledge.I never said that they did. Nice strawman! Have fun beating it up. Do you want to respond to the points I actually made? I was responding to you, if you’ll recall, not posting in vacuum. You were the one who asserted that “Universities are by definition patent trolls.” That’s an absurd statement and I explained why. Now you’ve moved on to attacking strawman. All patent trolls are picky as to what they pay for patents. They want to make a profit!That’s nice. That doesn’t make a University a “patent troll” by definition. As I pointed out to already: Universities create their own IP. They aren’t aggregating the IP others for the purpose of skimming profits off successful industries. Moreover, no University that I’m aware of is even engaged in the “business strategy” of filing applications solely for the purpose of sueing other people or creating grist for the troll mill. They file patents based on what the researchers whom they employ actually create, and only patents covering that subset of IP that someone might actually wish to license for the purpose of commercialization. If you’ve got evidence to the contrary, I’m happy to learn about it. I’m sure Dennis and everyone else would be happy to learn about that as well. So you have prosecuted patents for a University? Well la di da! Jim Jones was also able to hobnob with fancy lawmakers.What?

            10. Malcolm,The greater insult is you still using your banal posting techniques rather than a person making a true observation about those techniques.Your history is full of prolix. Consider the post-Myriad rants of more than 30,000 words (and yet, three clear and concise words have yet to be uttered).The Crybaby Veto is being ployed yet again. You want your soapbox and you want no one to post a counter view or question the weight of your view.That is not a discussion.And I am still curious as to why you are not a part of the Patently-O listed community stats. It is not the ‘privacy’ setting, so what is it? Why the secrecy?Hmmmm.

            11. Would it make you feel any better if we used the word prolixity?Or is your focus on blog writing concerned only with gnats as you are stomped by elephants again?

            12. “Would it make you feel any better if we used the word prolixity?”It doesn’t make that much difference to me, honestly. However, I am continually surprised that someone who supposedly makes a living with words is so bad at using them.

            13. “It doesn’t make that much difference to me, honestly.”Your actions speak differently Leopold.You still choose to post to gnats (grammar on a blog?, incorrectly challenging my words?), while elephants of poor legal logic stomp around without your joining substantive discussions.Your pattern of behavior shows through these comments and up votes even though you attempt to use privacy settings to shield your comments. And I am not continually surprised at the bias shown by that pattern.

            14. Labelling a view as an insult (when it is not).Labelling someone else’s comment a strawman (when it is not). Using a strawman himself (it matters not who made the invention, because a baseline of our patent system was that inventions be fully alienable property).And throwing in a Vinnie Barbarino meme too.What possible ‘norm’ for conversation is being reached with this response?

          2. 6 -”It’s just something that shouldn’t be encouraged because it warps the patent system from a system designed to protect manufacturers who develop new products (and processes for making those products) into a gambling casino wherein the already wealthy can extort, skim or grift money from people who created successful businesses.”Lets correct something here. A patent gives the owner the right to exclude others from making , using, selling, offering for sale etc. the patented invention. A patent does not protect manufacturers who develop new products. Now, if by that phrase you mean – giving the manufacturers the right to exclude its competitors from the market, you are correct. So I understand your position better, I welcome your comments on the following hypothetical. What happens when a company (ie. an NPE) licenses patents from a University, and that NPE (using your words) asserts the rights in the IP to “extort, skim or grift money from people who created successful businesses.” Do those facts make the NPE a troll as compared to when if the University did this, it would not be considered a troll? Please clarify.

            1. A patent does not protect manufacturers who develop new products.Sure it does. For the life of the patent, it protects them from competition by people who wish to make the same product. People will be less inclined to do that if you have a patent on the product because, generally, people don’t want to be sued. Of course, this assumes the patent is valid and enforceable and not some total piece of cr*p that makes every reasonable person with a modest understanding of the law and the prior art laugh outright.What happens when a company (ie. an NPE) licenses patents from a University, and that NPE (using your words) asserts the rights in the IP to “extort, skim or grift money from people who created successful businesses.” Do those facts make the NPE a trollWhy did the company take the license? Just to sue somebody, with no intention of every making a product or providing a service itself? If so, yes, they’re a troll.

            2. “with no intention of every making a product or providing a service itself? If so, yes, they’re a troll.”LOL – nice self-defeat Malcolm. You just described the Universities.Your words.

            3. You just described the Universities.Your words.No, I didn’t. Please ask someone to help you translate comments before you respond to them. When you excerpted my comment (“with no intention of every making a product or providing a service itself? If so, yes, they’re a troll”) you left out the part about “licensing someone else’s patent for the sole purpose of sueing somebody with it.” That’s a rather important part of my description of “a patent troll.”Please try harder to read and comprehend before spouting off. Thanks.

            4. Again with the desired abdication of a legal right (of enforcement)?Maybe your ‘spouting off’ needs to reflect the full gamut of what having a patent means, and you should not attempt to denigrate anyone who wishes to actually pursue their legal rights.

            5. “Again with the desired abdication of a legal right (of enforcement)?”I do not think that word means what you think it means.

            6. Let’s see if you recognize this:ab·di·ca·tion ËŒabdiˈkāSHÉ™n/ noun2. failure to fulfill a responsibility or duty.”we are witnessing an abdication of responsibility on the part of state governments”synonyms: disowning, renunciation, rejection, refusal, relinquishment, repudiation, abandonment, “an abdication of responsibility”Ask yourself my dear Leopold, if Malcolm’s statement sounds in any of the synonyms as to the perfectly legitimate and legal right of enforcing a patent through lawsuit… Then ask yourself if you, as counsel to someone having such a right, and following Malcolm’s “moral high ground,” would fail in your duty to your client. Then feel free to once again apologize and say “anon was right.”New software – old patterns, Leopold rushes to defend Malcolm and ‘attack’ me, while being wrong on both accounts.

            7. Enforcing a patent is certainly a right, but it is not a “duty” or “responsibility,” my dear anon. You don’t “abdicate” a right. Like I said, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

            8. Leopold, Try again and read my posts.The client has a right – the attorney has the duty.Come man, think before you post.

            9. The vast majority of patents are improvement patents in which the patent holder has no right to practice the underlying invention.Your position should reflect this reality.

            10. Yes, the patent as a negative right is often (purposefully) overlooked.Just as it is often overlooked that a certain Supreme Court 1908 decision clearly establishes that ‘doing’ something with your patent is NOT a requirement. Such is simply NOT a part of the Quid Pro Quo agreement of obtaining a patent right.It is just that these items of reality are inconvenient for the Infringer’s Rights groups.

          3. “It’s not “evil.” It’s just something that shouldn’t be encouraged because it warps the patent system from a system designed to protect manufacturers who develop new products (and processes for making those products) into a gambling casino wherein the already wealthy can extort, skim or grift money from people who created successful businesses.”That is more applicable to Wall Street and the Banking system than it is to intellectual property investors comrade. Don’t you like free markets, truth, justice and the Amerkin way?

      2. MM, “scouring the graves of dead, failed companies…”MM, one might see an analogy here in lawyers who advertise for victims to represent. In one view, the lawyer is the worst kind of human — making money from the misery of others. In another view, the lawyer is helping the victim to achieve justice.If it were not for such lawyers willing to take such cases, the law would be reserved exclusively for the rich, as no one else can reasonably afford a lawyer or a lawsuit.

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