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   How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?
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   Author  Topic: How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?  (Read 2559 times)
courteney
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How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?
« on: May 30th, 2006, 1:12pm »
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I'm doing some research on what can be done with patents that aren't being used. So far I've figured out that they can be sold through a broker or auctioned off, for profit. I am familar with tech transfer and licensing however, I don't think those avenues are what I'm looking for. Are there any other ways to profit from un-used patents? Also, are there any particular questions that should be asked before chosing a method?  Patent prosecution is probably not something I'm interested in either.  
Thanks for your help,
Courteney
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Wolfcastle
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Re: How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?
« Reply #1 on: May 30th, 2006, 1:25pm »
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What about the obvious thing to do with an unused patent? Use them. Sue those people who are infringing your patent. Alternatively, another thing to do with an unused patent is to let them die. Letting a patent die saves you the cost of the maintence fees.  
 
 
On a side note, did you mean patent prosecution or litigation?
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JimIvey
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Re: How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?
« Reply #2 on: May 30th, 2006, 7:29pm »
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What's currently happening in that area is something some people call IP arbitrage.  Ventures are buying up under-utilized IP and enforcing it.
 
One that's currently very active is Intellectual Ventures:
http://www.intellectualventures.com/
 
Another one that garnered widespread attention is NTP -- settling with RIM (makers of the Blackberry pager/PDA/phones) for ... what was it? $450million?
 
Of course, many established businesses can them patent trolls.  But at least some of the patents asserted by these funds were unsuccessfully enforced by their previous owners (unsuccessful through no fault of their own).  I suspect most IP in those funds fall into that category.
 
In my opinion, these IP arbitrage ventures are a big boost to small inventors and small IP holders.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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lawstudent07
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Re: How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?
« Reply #3 on: Jun 5th, 2006, 9:08am »
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(posted original message, but having login problems) You are right, I did mean litigation. I am interning at an investment company so using the patents isn't exactly what we're looking for.  The patents that we need to get rid of are from companies that no longer exist. I have done some research with arbitrage, however I'm finding that they will only buy patents on limited technologies. Since the patents we have include consumer goods, which venue would be best to market them? Is the internet such as yet2.com a good place?
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JimIvey
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Re: How do I get rid of unnecessary patents?
« Reply #4 on: Jun 5th, 2006, 9:38am »
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Intellectual property rights are quite a lot like real property rights.  When you end up owning those rights sort of incidentally, odds are that you're not going to be able to fully capitalize them due to unfamiliarity with the marketplace.  So, I'd suggest doing what you do with real property rights in those cases -- look for someone with expertice in the relevant market.
 
One thing that works for real property that may or may not yet work for patents are auctions.  Real property can be ... pardon the pun ... dirt simple relative to IP, so merely advertising a land auction is probably enough to get a healthy showing of interested buyers.  A friend of mine recently attended his first patent auction recently (probably one of the first of its kind anywhere).  I haven't spoken with him since then, but I did chat with him by cell phone as he was going in.  He said that he rough estimate was that 85% of the attendees were just spectators, curious to see what happens at a patent auction.  Eventually, that may be a viable place to unload patents.  Currently, it's not viable, from what little I understand.
 
My one contact in the patent arbitrage business is in IPotential -- primarily computer technology.  And, you're right, patents are technology-specific and IP arbitrage groups tend to stick with a single type of technology to develop an expertice in that type to make better decisions.  So, if your IP is all over the place, you'll probably have to go to multiple groups to capitalize the IP.  
 
I'd very roughly (and perhaps naively) break down the patent evaluation space into computer/information technology, life sciences (including chemical), and other.  I'm meeting today with a person in an organization that I believe handles the two major categories not handled by IPotential -- life sciences and other.  On Wednesday, I'm meeting with a friend of mine in a life sciences patent practice -- maybe she knows of a patent investment fund or a patent acquisition group in life sciences (if that's useful to you).
 
As for the web site you mention, I'm not familiar with it.  I've seen patent auction web sites and have even seen patent auctions on eBay.  I haven't heard any great success stories yet.  I suspect that this is all so new that a few brave souls are venturing out in a highly manual, hands-on manner.  I think it will be a while before there's any truly successful (and profitable) mass repository for orphaned patents.
 
Hmmm....  Maybe I could Enron-ize the patent markets -- acquire patents, start enforcement campaigns and sell shares in each patent in an open market.  People could reasonably inexpensively speculate on patent enforcement campaigns.  People with patents could also go through IPOs with their patents and have some way to capitalize their ideas.  If a defendant wanted to avoid liability, they could buy all outstanding shares in the patent to "take it private", so to speak (equivalent to a settlement).  Just a crazy idea....  It doesn't exist yet, as far as I know.
 
Regards.
« Last Edit: Jun 6th, 2006, 7:49am by JimIvey » IP Logged

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James D. Ivey
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