Commerce One Auctions Patents: Public Interest Groups Complain

It is right there in the Patent Act.  Patents are a form of personal property and are freely assignable.  35 U.S.C. ยง261.  They may be bought & sold, licensed exclusively and otherwise. 

Now, some patent groups (EFF) are up in arms because a bankrupt company, Commerce One has auctioned its patent portfolio that reportedly covers computerized methods of paying bills and obtaining supplies.  Their objection: “the buyer is to require a substantial rate of return.” 

Give me a break — what kind of objection is that? The underpinning of the American economy is based on the exchange of property and obtaining a return on investment.