Psssst…Intellectual Ventures? Your Shell Companies Are Showing

I see Paris, I see France, I see IV’s underpants.

I wish I had known about the crowdfunding effort going on to find out who all of IV’s shell companies are.  It’s not like the $20 I could have thrown into the coffers would have helped tremendously, but it would have felt good to at least participate.  That’s what I get for not reading Techdirt that day.

The title is a little misleading here because to anyone who follows the industry, we of course know that IV is suing people using shell companies right, left, and center over their hoard of patents.  Say…wouldn’t that be a fun send-up of the show “Hoarders: Buried Alive”?  Go have a look-see around the IV offices and for each shell company lawsuit you find, it can be represented by one mouse dropping.  Can you just picture the patent police coming in with little yellow gloves and HAZMAT suits, picking through the place?  I would totally watch that episode.

From the folks who the Techdirt article quoted, here’s this gem of import, emphasis mine:

Like all of the USPTO’s on-line systems, the assignment database is a technological abomination–sadly ironic for the agency that effectively manages the nation’s technology rights. (The USPTO does deserve credit for making raw XML data available through Google, which is where our project began.) It must be noted that Intellectual Ventures would have had a much harder time lurking in the shadows all these years if government information technology systems, such as the USPTO assignment database and different states’ corporation databases, were kept up to par. In fact, its business model would likely be impossible, as the courts would be likely to label the company as a vexatious litigant if they only knew how many lawsuits it filed.

I have a different question:  what if we didn’t focus on the lawsuits?  What if we went a step before that, to when companies first start trotting out their patents and testing the waters?  You know it costs money to file a lawsuit, but it costs a lot less to simply send out a feeler letter otherwise known as a nastygram, which next to “vexatious” is my favorite word. How many nastygrams are going out?  To whom?  From whom?  Someone should work on getting that data.  Perhaps someone is.  {Awkward silence.}

Edited to add:  Just read this article and her 10th item says the same thing I’m saying.

Litigations are only a tiny part of the story. While good data on patent demand letters is lacking,

The thing of it is though, even if the courts knew it was all IV suing, naming someone a vexatious litigant is tough.  Do courts ever really do that?  Maybe they do, I haven’t consulted the data on that one because I’m too lazy.  In all my internet perusing, however, I haven’t ever come across that call being made a judge in a patent infringement case.  Further, if lawyers could actually be disbarred for bringing a host of frivolous suits, this guy’s house in the Cayman’s would be for sale.  (Hint: it isn’t.)

Just sayin’,


5 thoughts on “Psssst…Intellectual Ventures? Your Shell Companies Are Showing

  1. Pingback: When Is A Survey Not a Survey? When It’s Really A Marketing Campaign By Intellectual Ventures | IP Troll Tracker

  2. Pingback: Intellectual Ventures (Might Be) Tied To Lodsys: Wait, What? | IP Troll Tracker

  3. Pingback: Wherein The Fox Tells Us How To Guard The Hen House | IP Troll Tracker

  4. Pingback: Two Things About The NetApp Victory Over Acacia Media | IP Troll Tracker

  5. Pingback: UCLA Is Making Bad Choices, Someone Tell Its Mother | IP Troll Tracker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s