Apple opts out of latest patent acquisition fund from Intellectual Ventures

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
Prominent patent buyer Intellectual Ventures won't be able to count Apple among the participants in its latest IP purchase, as the iPhone maker has apparently opted out of its latest investment.

Supreme Court


Apple and Intel both declined to participate in the latest patent buy from Intellectual Ventures, though Microsoft and Sony are a part of the purchase, according to Reuters. One expert referred to the lack of participation from Apple and Intel as a "dramatic departure."

Apple's opt-out comes at a time when intellectual property investments are under major scrutiny. While so-called "patent trolls" target major corporations like Apple with lawsuits in an effort to profit, the smartphone industry is also filled with IP lawsuits, most prominently an ongoing worldwide battle between Samsung and Apple.

Previously, Apple and Intel joined Microsoft and Sony in buying IP through Intellectual Ventures. Those investments ensured low-cost licenses of protected patents, and also netted the companies a portion of royalties collected.

In February, Apple was joined by Google in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make changes that would curb patent abuse and allow stiffer penalties for "trolls" who bring frivolous lawsuits that can prove quite costly in the courtroom. They, along with Intel, Yahoo, Cisco and Facebook, asked the court to make it easier for companies to defend themselves against patent claims, which are frequently brought by companies that produce no products and simply profit from royalties and legal action.

Patents


In addition, earlier this month Apple joined a number of major U.S. corporations, including Microsoft, IBM, Ford and Pfizer, to form a lobbying group that opposes proposed changes to the American patent system. The "Partnership for American Innovation" has expressed concern that some proposed legislation in Congress intended to fight "trolls" could also hurt major, more legitimate corporations.

Last August it was revealed that those "trolls," or non-practicing intellectual property owning entities, had hit Apple with 171 lawsuits in the last five years. That made Apple handily the most-targeted corporation, easily beating the 137 lawsuits seen by No. 2 Hewlett Packard, and 133 complaints against third-place Samsung.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook spoke with members of the U.S. Senate about patent issues during a testimony last May. But the CEO spoke of his own interest in strengthening companies' abilities to protect their own intellectual property, rather than warding off lawsuits from non-practicing entities.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    Either build and use or build and sell publicly what you have said patent application for within a designated period of time (perhaps 3-5 years) or you lose the rights to the application and any chance of it getting granted. And what's more, if you apply and follow all the rules correctly your granted patent has a limited life. Perhaps 20 years for hardware and 10 years for software.

    Something along the lines of this would stop patent trolls in their tracks, would help stop powerful companies using patents as a weapon, and I think this would also help to make clear patent law, even to the layperson.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,626member
    ireland wrote: »
    Either build and use or build and sell publicly what you have said patent application for within a designated period of time (perhaps 3-5 years) or you lose the rights to the application and any chance of it getting granted. And what's more, if you apply and follow all the rules correctly your granted patent has a limited life. Perhaps 20 years for hardware and 10 years for software.

    Something along the lines of this would stop patent trolls in their tracks, would help stop powerful companies using patents as a weapon, and I think this would also help to make clear patent law, even to the layperson.

    I agree. Use it or lose it within 5 years or so after patent is granted. As long as you make a product using the patent, it won't expire.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    ireland wrote: »
    Either build and use or build and sell publicly what you have said patent application for within a designated period of time (perhaps 3-5 years) or you lose the rights to the application

    I think that's generally the law in Australia, but don't know if it's enforced. IIRC if a patented invention isn't produced by the applicant within 3 years then others may use it.

    EDIT: Here's a citation that explains how Australia views it.
    http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/27-compulsory-licensing/compulsory-licensing
  • Reply 4 of 50
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    Either build and use or build and sell publicly what you have said patent application for within a designated period of time (perhaps 3-5 years) or you lose the rights to the application and any chance of it getting granted. And what's more, if you apply and follow all the rules correctly your granted patent has a limited life. Perhaps 20 years for hardware and 10 years for software.



    Something along the lines of this would stop patent trolls in their tracks, would help stop powerful companies using patents as a weapon, and I think this would also help to make clear patent law, even to the layperson.

    Also, adding "on a computer", "on the internet" or "on a mobile device" to the end of an existing concept does not make it a new idea worthy of a patent.

  • Reply 5 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    jungmark wrote: »
    I agree. Use it or lose it within 5 years or so after patent is granted. As long as you make a product using the patent, it won't expire.

    Regrettably for small inventors and business owners that brief timeline would not only be disadvantageous, it would crush the idea of them participating entirely in the market of creating and utilizing intellectual property for their benefit. The timeline should remain the same. What I don't agree with is the Disney-spearheaded changes that led to the unreasonable extension of copyrights.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    Yesterday and today on different threads I mentioned that I think the days of active patent filing and most importantly protection are numbered, and not seen as being worth the trouble to defend even if you're 100% correct. The Apple vs. Samsung case(es) have led to this.

    The fallout and so called fact discovery process leading to internal operations being laid open for the public to peruse and tear apart at will; the brand taking a major hit due to so very many people not understanding the process nor the patents; even more people that should have the sense to understand why there are patents in the first place and refuse to support them for whatever reason... leads me to believe that even Apple is throwing up it's hands and asking "why should we ever go through with this again"? What did it gain in the end and what was it's ROI, other than to satisfy an egocentric geniuses desire for revenge? Was this really "good for Apple"?

    I supported SJ and Apple in just about everything they have ever done, even when they (to me) were obvious mistakes afterwards. I think we're all expected to learn from our mistakes or times when things didn't go as planned. This is one of those times to reassess, and try not to repeat the past, regardless of right and wrong.

    It's a free-for-all out there and the courts and Wall Street are justifying theft. Hunker down, make the best products money can buy, and continue to stay focused on improving them and innovating/creating new ones. This is a fight (patents) that is rigged and can't be won... so don't play it.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    ireland wrote: »
    Either build and use or build and sell publicly what you have said patent application for within a designated period of time (perhaps 3-5 years) or you lose the rights to the application and any chance of it getting granted. And what's more, if you apply and follow all the rules correctly your granted patent has a limited life. Perhaps 20 years for hardware and 10 years for software.

    Something along the lines of this would stop patent trolls in their tracks, would help stop powerful companies using patents as a weapon, and I think this would also help to make clear patent law, even to the layperson.

    Are you aware that one of the patents in the Apple v. Samsung trial is almost 20 yrs old?
  • Reply 8 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    jungmark wrote: »
    I agree. Use it or lose it within 5 years or so after patent is granted. As long as you make a product using the patent, it won't expire.

    The technology to use a patent isn't always there, or if it is then it's very expensive.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    d4njvrzfd4njvrzf Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post



    Yesterday and today on different threads I mentioned that I think the days of active patent filing and most importantly protection are numbered, and not seen as being worth the trouble to defend even if you're 100% correct. The Apple vs. Samsung case(es) have led to this.



    The fallout and so called fact discovery process leading to internal operations being laid open for the public to peruse and tear apart at will; the brand taking a major hit due to so very many people not understanding the process nor the patents; even more people that should have the sense to understand why there are patents in the first place and refuse to support them for whatever reason... leads me to believe that even Apple is throwing up it's hands and asking "why should we ever go through with this again"? What did it gain in the end and what was it's ROI, other than to satisfy an egocentric geniuses desire for revenge? Was this really "good for Apple"?



    I supported SJ and Apple in just about everything they have ever done, even when they (to me) were obvious mistakes afterwards. I think we're all expected to learn from our mistakes or times when things didn't go as planned. This is one of those times to reassess, and try not to repeat the past, regardless of right and wrong.



    It's a free-for-all out there and the courts and Wall Street are justifying theft. Hunker down, make the best products money can buy, and continue to stay focused on improving them and innovating/creating new ones. This is a fight (patents) that is rigged and can't be won... so don't play it.

     

    This only applies to software patents, which are somewhat of an anomaly anyway in patent law, and for that reason I don't think it would be a big loss if they were abolished altogether. The fundamentals of computer science as we know today were all developed before software patents started becoming popular. You don't have to look over your shoulder every time you sort a list using quicksort, for example. You don't have to pay Donald Knuth royalties to use TeX. Software is mostly about making iterative improvements to existing ideas, and this step-by-step evolution is what software patents hinder in practice. 

     

    I haven't seen people crying about the patent system in other fields. It's mostly just software.

  • Reply 10 of 50
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,342member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post





    I agree. Use it or lose it within 5 years or so after patent is granted. As long as you make a product using the patent, it won't expire.

    The problem there is under that rule, Google and Samsung would be free to copy Apple's data detectors as Apple let that lay dormant for a long time.

  • Reply 11 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    evilution wrote: »
    The problem there is under that rule, Google and Samsung would be free to copy Apple's data detectors as Apple let that lay dormant for a long time.

    Why should that be an issue? If you look at the reason the US found a reference to patents to be valuable enough to be included in the Constitution it wasn't simply property rights. The stated purpose of US patents is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". How does getting a software patent, not using it in a product, but trying to prevent anyone else from using it either meeting the founders rational for US patents enshrined in the Constitution?
  • Reply 12 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Why should that be an issue? If you look at the purpose of patents it wasn't to prevent the advancement of technology. The Constitutionally stated purpose of US patents is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". How does getting a software patent, not using it in a product, but trying to prevent anyone else from using it either meeting the stated purpose of US patent law?

    Patents are property and property rights are also recognized in the Constitution. There is no requirement whatsoever that a patent must be "used."

    http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/private-property-and-government-under-the-constitution
  • Reply 13 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    Patents are property and property rights are also recognized in the Constitution. There is no requirement whatsoever that a patent must be "used."

    Patents are not real property and not treated as such, evidenced by separate and unrelated laws for them on US books and separate special mention in the Constitution. What do you think the founders meant by "promote the progress of science" etc. as the stated reason for US patents?
  • Reply 14 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Why should that be an issue? If you look at the reason the US found a reference to patents to be valuable enough to be included in the Constitution it wasn't simply property rights. The stated purpose of US patents is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". How does getting a software patent, not using it in a product, but trying to prevent anyone else from using it either meeting the founders rational for US patents enshrined in the Constitution?

    He made a valid point to counter @jungmark
  • Reply 15 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    He made a valid point to counter @jungmark

    I think you meant that for @Evilution ;)
  • Reply 16 of 50
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,626member
    evilution wrote: »
    The problem there is under that rule, Google and Samsung would be free to copy Apple's data detectors as Apple let that lay dormant for a long time.

    True but if there was a time limit, Apple would have been using it all those years in between.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Patents are not real property and not treated as such, evidenced by separate and unrelated laws for them on US books and separate special mention in the Constitution. What do you think the founders meant by "promote the progress of science" etc. as the stated reason for US patents?

    Of course patents are property. Anything that can be considered valuable and can be kept, sold, willed, traded, donated or licensed for a remuneration is property.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    Of course patents are property. Anything that can be considered valuable and can be kept, sold, willed, traded, donated or licensed for a remuneration is property.

    Intellectual property as opposed to real property where your ownership of it doesn't expire after a relatively short period of time. They are not one and the same or have the same rights granted them by the Constitution.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Intellectual property as opposed to real property where your ownership of it doesn't expire after a relatively short period of time. They are not one and the same or have the same rights granted them by the Constitution.

    Intellectual property is real property and there is plenty of history supporting this view. The existence of the USPTO supports this view. If something can be bought or sold, it's "real." An embodiment or implementation is "real." There is "real" work attached to intellectual property.

    If you spent 5,000 hours developing a brand for a global multi-billion dollar company, is the product of that work "real"?
  • Reply 20 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Are you aware that one of the patents in the Apple v. Samsung trial is almost 20 yrs old?

    Bon voyage to it IMO then.
Sign In or Register to comment.