Intellectual Ventures is one of the better known – and largest – patent holding companies in the United States. The company recently stepped up spending on its lobbying efforts, nearly doubling the total amount of cash that went toward swaying federal policy. It’s also making an effort to be more transparent with the patents that it holds.
The company has unveiled a searchable list of more than 33,000 of its patents. That figure represents approximately 82 percent of the company’s nearly 40,000 patents.
The list of patents that the company makes available for sale and licensing, is also available as a downloadable spreadsheet. This information includes previously unknown patents that were purchased by Intellectual Ventures under the auspices of one of its shell companies.
According to the company’s website, it released this “snapshot” of its holdings does not include “unpublished applications, patents or applications that we have acquired recently, and patents or applications that may be subject to confidentiality arrangements with third parties.”
The controversial company, which is seen by many as emblematic of the “patent troll” problem, has been held up as an example of the devious nature of such companies, as it uses shell companies to obfuscate the ownership of certain patents. This move is seen as one step toward greater transparency.
The website posted the following explanation for why Intellectual Ventures was making this information available:
“As one of the largest global patent holders in the world, we are often the subject of curiosity. Customers want to see what is currently available to license or buy and others are curious about our holdings and our intentions. While much of this information is available through various global patent office databases, we have decided to assemble the majority of our portfolio in a single place, providing our customers and others who are interested a convenient, publically available list of our assets.”
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