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$400 Million IP Experiment Making Some Nervous 262

BrianWCarver writes "IP Law & Business shines the spotlight on Intellectual Ventures, the IP start-up founded in 2000 by former Microsoft chief technologist Nathan Myhrvold. According to some estimates, Intellectual Ventures has amassed 3,000-5,000 patents, with the help of a $400 million investment from some of the biggest technology companies, including Nokia, Intel, Apple, Sony, and Microsoft. As the patent stockpile grows, so does the speculation--and the fear. IP lawyers and tech executives worry that Intellectual Ventures is less interested in changing the world with big ideas, and more focused on becoming an über patent troll, wreaking litigation havoc across industries with its patents."
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$400 Million IP Experiment Making Some Nervous

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  • net here! (Score:5, Informative)

    by xlyz ( 695304 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:10PM (#15207801) Journal
    not in the EU, as software patent are (still) not allowed :)
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:20PM (#15207897) Journal
    With patent auctions [] all over the place (even online []), I'm not surprised about Intellectual Ventures.

    If you are in the mood to swallow some Grade A tripe, check out their business plan [].

    1. Invention Labs.
    2. Invention Research & Development.
    3. Invention Library (tm).
    4. Market Enablement.
    5. Profit!

    By the way, the "tm" after the Invention Library means trademark. Yes, they've even patented terms in their business plan.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:48PM (#15208085)
    It's not "niché", it's "niche." Even the French spell it as "niche"...

    It's pronounced like "itch", not "itchay"

    Wrong. The "i" is pronounced like a long e ("ee"), the "ch" is soft (like "sh"), there is no hard 't'. Phonetically, it is closer to "neesh".

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:02PM (#15208171)
    Imagine in 10-20 years, China becomes the biggest economy in the world, it ignores all the US patents, and just use those patents to roll out their own products.

    You mean like the US did a couple of hundred years ago ?

    Same thing that happened then - you end up with a new world power.

  • by Vitriolix ( 660279 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:05PM (#15208192) Homepage []

    Back in January, Red Hat reversed a longstanding policy and allowed the Mono .NET implementation into the Fedora distribution. A set of Mono applications (Tomboy, Banshee, F-spot) also went in at that time. The move was generally welcomed, but a number of observers wondered what had changed to make the addition of Mono possible. The sticking point had been a set of patents on .NET held by Microsoft; presumably those patents were no longer seen as a threat. But no information on why that might be was released at that time.

    We missed it at the time, but Fedora hacker Greg DeKoenigsberg posted an explanation in late March. The answer, as it turns out, may offer some clues of how the software patent battle might play out.

    Back in November, the Open Invention Network (OIN) announced its existence. OIN is a corporation which has been set up for one express purpose: to acquire patents and use them to promote and defend free software. The OIN patent policy is this:

    Patents owned by Open Invention Network will be available on a royalty-free basis to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux operating system or certain Linux-related applications.

    The list of "certain Linux-related applications" is said to exist, though it has not, yet, been posted publicly. But Mono is apparently on that list. So anybody who files patent infringement suits against Mono users, and who is, in turn, making use of technology covered by OIN's patents is setting himself up for a countersuit. Depending on the value of the patents held by OIN, that threat could raise the risk of attacking Mono considerably.
  • Re:net here! (Score:3, Informative)

    by cortana ( 588495 ) <`ku.gro.stobor' `ta' `mas'> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:18PM (#15208284) Homepage
    Although the European Patent Convention forbids the patenting of software, individual EU member states have varying laws on the matter. In the UK, software has already been quite patentable for a while. :/
  • That is incorrect. (Score:5, Informative)

    by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @07:09PM (#15208572) Homepage
    The UKPTO is one of EU member offices known to actively *reject* attempted software and business method patents even if it has to go all the way to the high court. []

    In fact, they were recently held as a 'good example' by the FFII.
  • Some useful links (Score:3, Informative)

    by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @08:34PM (#15209003) Homepage Journal
    The way to win the software patent undoing is to make programminhg so damn easy that its hard to find novel. [] Yeah, its up for deletion but that doesn't invalidate it. But its really not original research either. php/Tagging_Prototype []

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @05:14AM (#15210716)

    However, American publishers continued to regard the work of a foreign (i. e., non-resident) author as unprotected 'common' property. Thus, although the Berne Convention greatly simplified the copyright process among European nations, numerous unauthorized American re-prints continued to appear until 1891, when the United States finally agreed to discontinue sanctioning literary piracy. In 1896 the American Congress joined the international copyright union, after petitions directed at it by such noted British novelists as Maria Edgeworth, Benjamin Disraeli, and Charles Dickens, beginning in 1837. Their pleas had fallen on deaf ears in the American government until joined by those of Americans such as Mark Twain, who complained that he was fed up with publishers' ignoring American works in favour of those of English writers, whose books could be re-printed more cheaply because there were no royalty costs. A further point of exacerbation for Twain was Canadian piracies of his works, which he attempted to prevent by establishing temporary residence in Canada on the date of publication of each of his works.

    It certainly happened, and here is a fairly comprehensive history on the subject: a74.html []

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