From Jeff Tucker. About Intellectual Ventures and other patent trolls.
This American Life talks about the amazing scam of patent enforcement – it is a perfect illustration of how this legal shakedown racket works.
When Patents Attack!
There’s a derogatory term in Silicon Valley for companies that amass huge troves of patents and make money by threatening lawsuits: “patent trolls.” When Jeff Kelling’s Internet company Fototime was sued – along with more than 130 other companies – for violating someone’s patent, he wondered if it was a troll (which the company denies), and then settled out of court. (8 minutes)
NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees. (29 minutes)
Laura and Alex continue their story about Intellectual Ventures and the practice of patent trolling. They learn why the buying and selling of patents is likely to continue being a huge, controversial business that affects the entire tech industry. (23 minutes)Correction: The broadcast version of this story misidentified one of the winning bidders of Nortel’s patents as Nokia instead of Ericsson.