Patently Absurd

Google Sues Itself With A Little Help From Intellectual Ventures

patenttrolls david saracino Google Sues Itself With A Little Help From Intellectual Ventures

"I want a piece of myself." Image by David Saracino

If there was ever a question about the absurdity of Intellectual Ventures and the patent protection racket it’s running, the recent news that IV is suing Motorola Mobility, over patents related to Google’s Android OS, settles things once and for all.

From FOSS Patents:

Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest non-practicing entity (holding more than 35,000 patents and pending patent applications), announced the filing of a federal lawsuit (in the District of Delaware) against Motorola Mobility. It also published the complaint.

The press release and the complaint say that IV approached MMI to negotiate a license deal, but decided to sue because of MMI’s continued refusal to take a license on unspecified terms that IV would consider “reasonable”. According to the complaint, those discussions started in January 2011. IV asks the court for damages and an injunction.

While this looks like the umpteenth NPE lawsuit against an Android device maker, this is remarkable and adds to existing intellectual property concerns related to Android. Intellectual Ventures isn’t just another NPE. Intellectual Ventures has received funding from Google itself, and is now suing Google’s most expensive acquisition target ever for the infringement of patents, some of which are software patents that read on Google’s Android, or at least on MMI’s extensions running on top of Android. In other words, Google does not even protect Android device makers against NPEs it invests in.

The one reasonable claim to existence that IV had was that it acted as a patent pool that protected its members from frivolous lawsuits. But this suit puts the lie to even that flimsy facade. Google funds IV, but if it doesn’t agree to pay extra licensing fees, it finds itself the target of a lawsuit, which, let’s not forget, comes from a company with no business  model outside collecting patents, receiving tithes from big tech companies, and suing for infringement.

For a deep dive into the absurd world of patent trolls, check out our feature on IQ Biometrix.

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Comments

  1. Peter B says:

    hahahaha

    patent trolls in the end kill them selves or those who feed them.

  2. So it seems to me that Intellectual Ventures (Evil Patent Troll) would be an ideal target for Anonymous. 

  3. New Writer says:

    Like him or not, patent troll or not, Myhrvold does generally seem to have played his cards right so far (though his claims about the supposed nobility of his operations seem disingenuous). On the other hand, you can’t really say the same about Google, which in recent years has made so many flubs that you have to start wondering about the company’s future.