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Technology's most fearsome patent troll

Written by Murshida Khan, an under-graduate student of Law on 04 September 2014

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A patent licensing company, Intellectual Ventures, based in Bellevue, Washington have reduced its staff by nearly 20%.

Since 2000, when Intellectual Ventures was founded, there have been over 3,000 patent applications and it currently has 70,000 patents within its portfolio. Intellectual Ventures have built up a reputation in which Intellectual Venture is known to file lawsuits asserting their patents. They are now identified and labelled as a ‘patent troll’: a patent troll is a non-practising entity (NPE) which aggressively asserts patents that are weak and frivolous.

Some of the companies that were sued by Intellectual Ventures include US Bank JP Morgan Chase for apparent infringements of 5 patents, some of which were in relation to online banking. Additionally, 3 patents were asserted against the mobile phone company, Motorola.

Due to Intellectual Ventures increasing analysis concerning patents, they have become more efficient which is the purpose of reducing the amount of staff. They have stated that there is less need for paperwork and staff in offices. In a statement, they declared their company is not under threat, as it was recently estimated that 19% of workforce reduction was made amongst Intellectual Ventures globally. NPEs generally are under intense scrutiny in the US Congress, where numerous bills are currently being discussed in favour of restricting frivolous litigation.

In reflection of the staff reduction, Intellectual Ventures hope to be able to expand and further progress in their leadership of inventions and limit weak patent applications.

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