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PublishedApril 14, 2015

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.

Matt Levy

Previously, Matt was patent counsel at the Computer & Communications Industry Association

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