If the Innovation Act Is Bad For Patents, Why Do Large Patent Owners Support It?

We’ve been hearing for months now that the idea that the Innovation Act will devalue patents.

But there’s a big problem with this notion that no one seems to be discussing: a lot of companies that have large, valuable patent portfolios don’t believe it.

IBM, for example, has the largest patent portfolio in the U.S., yet it strongly supports the Innovation Act. Microsoft makes a large amount of money from licensing its patents; it, too, supports the Innovation Act. Yahoo! makes substantial money from licensing its patents, and it also supports the Innovation Act. The list goes on and on.

The reason these companies support the Innovation Act is because they’re losing millions of dollars because of patent trolling. They know that their own valuable patents won’t be affected.

The companies opposing the Innovation Act generally fall into two groups: companies who have valuable patents but don’t have a patent troll problem in their industry and companies who make their money by patent trolling. While it’s understandable that these groups of companies might want to protect the status quo, they don’t really have a lot of credibility on the issue because they don’t see the problem with patent trolls.

Companies that have both a valuable patent portfolio and a patent troll problem generally support the Innovation Act. That should tell you all you need to know about whether the Innovation Act will reduce the values of patents.

  4 comments for “If the Innovation Act Is Bad For Patents, Why Do Large Patent Owners Support It?

  1. dbriere
    April 25, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Matt, actually, the one thing I don’t hear discussed in all of this is the fundamental misalignment between getting a patent and enforcing it. Patent lawyers will take your money all day long to file patent applications. And, if you pay them $1m-$5m, they MAY be willing to go after a firm violating a patent. But put yourself in my position. I have a series of fundamental patents regarding the Internet that I literally have more than 1000 big brand names that are violating it. My patent firm is one of the most respected, largest, and more focused on tech patents in the market. They told me that they would not be willing to go after such a large number of companies because they would be seen as a patent troll and “part of the problem.” It went to the Board level. Also, they said that they would likely be conflicted out of most of it anyway, because most of the targets are their customers. Also, they said it would take millions of dollars to enforce it.

    So I paid the patent lawyer dues to get my patents, I have these other firms using my patent knowledge, competing with me, and I can do nothing about it. I don’t have the millions it would take to enforce my patents.

    So tell me, what good is the new patent system as redefined? How will conflicts go away? How will the law firms with resources suddenly be willing to take on such sweeping, risky projects on contingency? How will it suddenly not cost $1m to protect my patent? How will this new situation help me?

    The answer is that it won’t. Frankly, the ONLY solution for me is a patent troll, and I welcome them. I’m looking for one now. (If you are one, contact me).

    How many other people are in my situation? I would argue the vast, vast, vast majority of patent holders. Who has $1m to sue someone? The lawmaking in Washington, from what I can see, has been by the big interests, for the big interests, and has little to do with the AVERAGE patent holder who just wants to protect his/her intellectual property. Washington offers nothing for me. Bring on the trolls as long as they live, I say. Perhaps some meaningful change will happen some time in the future. But from what I can tell, this is not it.

    • Fred
      May 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      How does one get in touch with you to discuss your IP?

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