Feeds

Patent troll Intellectual Ventures is more like a HYDRA

1200+ shell companies guard 10,000 patents very fiercely

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Stanford University researchers have compiled the most extensive set of documentation to date of the activities of patent troll Intellectual Ventures – and their work reveals a behemoth of truly epic scale.

The study, The Giant Among Us, turned up an impressive 1,276 shell companies operated by Intellectual Ventures, at least partly to keep prying eyes away from its business model, and estimates that between 30,000 and 60,000 patents are held by the “mass aggregator”.

Although not all of Intellectual Ventures’ shell companies hold patents – some are management entities, others handle investment functions – the researchers write that “954 companies have patents recorded against their names”. A further 242 shells, they suggest, have been incorporated to receive patents covered by transactions that haven’t yet been completed.

Even a low-end estimate – the patents actually recorded in the USPTO as being assigned to one of those shells – identifies around 10,000 patents held by the firm.

At the upper end of the researchers’ estimates, Intellectual Ventures would rank as the fifth-largest patent holder in the United States and among the top fifteen patent holders worldwide.

Apart from companies that have tipped their patent portfolios into Intellectual Ventures’ kitty, its sources include more than 50 universities (detailed by the researchers in the paper, spanning at least eight countries; Australia is represented by Monash University and the University of Western Sydney).

The paper also sheds light on the troll’s strategy: if its target appears reluctant to play ball on a first approach, Intellectual Ventures then licenses its patents to a more aggressive third party, whose lawsuits demand a higher royalty than that originally demanded by Intellectual Ventures.

The paper, by Tom Ewing of Stanford and Robin Feldman of the University of California, is available here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.