IV-labs Intellectual Venture’s labs — Heisenberg Media / flickr

Last year, mega patent-troll Intellectual Ventures opened up shop in Washington, D.C., to push their yearly million dollar lobbying effort. Since its founding in 2000, IV is believed to have raised about $6 billion in cash, of which it has recouped about $3 billion in extortion tactics licensing payments.

In December of 2013, Apple and Microsoft joined with the patent trolls to cut down any meaningful patent reform with a watered-down bill that was approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate is expected to bring up the bill in the near future.

Sadly, TechDirt is reporting that the watered-down bill has been cut down even further to the point where there is little if any reason to think that actual reform will occur:

“Senate insiders insist that a “deal” is being made. The latest is that things have been pushed off for a few more weeks, as the patent abusers have been throwing their weight around quite a bit in the Senate. A manager’s amendment from Senator Leahy is still expected, but no one is quite sure what will be in it. From talking to a bunch of folks with knowledge of what’s going on, the general consensus is that while some are still optimistic, it seems quite likely that most of the useful stuff to stop patent abuse will get tossed out.”

Companies like Intellectual Ventures seem to be oblivious to the fact that companies such as themselves are the reason for the uncertainty in patent law today. Intellectual Venture’s boss lobbyist, Russ Merbeth has said:

“The current debate about patent trolls “seems to create uncertainty around patents generally,” said Russ Merbeth, chief policy counsel at Intellectual Ventures. “From our perspective, that’s going to have a long-term negative impact on American competitiveness.”

Image courtesy of Whitehouse.gov

That uncertainty probably comes from situations like this where startups are forced to hire more lawyers than actual employees? Or when major city’s transit app was halted because someone tried claiming that they had the patent for “tracking vehicles” and “electronic updates” even though the person had never made a single application or device in his life?

Then again, there is some absolute certainty in the industry. When politicians get out of office, where do they go? They go to the same companies that have been lobbying them for years with high pay and little work to achieve.

  • Basr83

    Doesn’t surprise me one bit that Apple and Microsoft would be against any serious reform of the patent system as they both stand to lose a bunch of patents in the process. I do believe change would be good and will increase actual innovative thinking and not just this behavior of let’s just patent anything remotely interesting because someone else hasn’t done it yet.

    • jeff

      Whats the saying…THE JOKE ABOUT LAWERS AND POLITICIANS? Whats really pathetic here in S.C. is our former Sen. finished his term and now is ceo of one of the major loan shark co. that is known as payday loans that charge people who cant make ends meet 3 to 400 % interest on a 2 or300 dollar loan that keeps them in a never ending cycle and his name is TOMMY MOORE YES TOMMY MOORE. Cant see how he sleeps at night. But I guess 6 figure salaries buy comfortable beds !!!

      • jeff

        If that dont confirm what the bible says..THAT GREED AND MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL I dont know will other than faith. But u know what I mean !!! JMO

  • John Doe

    Pathetic patent trolls!! They do nothing, and expect everything in return. If the system is not changed soon, America will fail to be the dominant force that it is today. Patent trolls suck the fun out of everything america does today, and gives nothing back!!
    If you did not create the patent, or do not enhance it’s capabilities, then by law you should not be able to sue others that attempt to do just that!!

  • Too bad apple won’t be supporting this otherwise they can’t go around suing everyone.

  • The deal is real

    I have seen the current “deal.” It looks very much like the house bill. All the patent haters and the Asian knock off factories should be very happy.

    As patent protection weakens, the investments now made to move technology forward will be re-allocated to monitor and copy competitors. Simple economics.

    *shrug* I kind of prefer invention.

  • staff1

    ‘The current debate about patent trolls…’

    infringers’ and their paid puppets’ definition of ‘patent troll’:

    anyone who sues us for stealing their invention

    All this talk about trolls and so called ‘patent reform’ is just spin control by large infringers and their paid puppets to cover up their theft.


    The patent system now teeters on the brink of lawlessness. Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to stop or pay”. It’s a pure red herring by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. Their goal is to legalize theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals and their puppets who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so. To infringers the only patents that are legitimate are their own -if they have any. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more US jobs overseas.

    It’s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful -campaign contributors. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they included inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity and the jobs the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the US economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system, we force inventors underground like Stradivarius (anyone know how to make a Stradivarius violin?) and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. Worse yet, we destroy the American dream -the ability to prosper from our ingenuity for the benefit of our families and communities. To kill or weaken the patent system is to kill all our futures. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I’ll show you a weak economy with high unemployment. If we cannot own the product of our minds or labors, what can we be said to truly own. Life and liberty are fundamentally tied to and in fact based on property rights. Our very lives are inseparably tied to our property.

    Prior to the Supreme Court case eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the eBay decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back into the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all patentees, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls and so-called patent reform, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.