- On November 2, 2012
If you haven’t heard – we at IP Checkups have launched a crowdfunded Indiegogo project to reveal Intellectual Ventures patent portfolio to the public. Check out our campaign site here: www.indiegogo.com/iv-thicket
During our fundraising, many backers have asked us for examples of our research methodology and process. Below is a sample of the initial patent searches and analyses that we will use for Case IV Thicket. Within a week or so, all of the data described below will be uploaded to PatentCAM, our web-based patent database tool, for the public to see. Check back here for updated website details!
Let’s begin by looking at US reassignment data, the USPTO’s records on changes in patent ownership (i.e. patent assignment). By searching for companies that have reassigned patents to IV directly, we can create an initial list of companies that have done business with IV through patent sales or licenses or have reassigned patents to third parties that have done business with IV through patent sales or license. This list may include IV shell companies, large corporations, research institutions, universities, bankrupted startups, and single inventors.
Next, we looked at the patent holdings and addresses of two potential IV shell companies: Purple Mountain Servers LLC and Rose Blush Software LLC. We chose these two companies since they are mentioned in numerous articles and reports such as NPR, Intellectual Assets Magazine, and Forbes.
Once we have the corporate addresses of Purple Mountain and Rose Blush (2711 Centerville Road, DE and 2215-B Renaissance Drive, Las Vegas, NV respectively), we can search the USPTO for other companies that have patent holdings at the same address. Since businesses often use the same mailing address for multiple shell companies, this may reveal other entities affiliated with IV.
This gives us three unique lists (Excel file: IV Thicket – Addresses and Reassigns – 11022012):
1) All patents, reassignee address at 2711 Centerville Road, Willmington DE 19808
- Search String: 2215-B Renaissance NOT Intellectual ADJ Ventures or 2711 Centerville
- 2712 Results
2) All patents, reassignee address at 2215-B Renaissance Drive Las Vegas Nevada 89119
- Search String: 2711 Centerville Rd NOT ((Intellectual ADJ Ventures) OR 2215-B Renaissance Drive
- 5266 Results
3) All patents, reassignee Intellectual Ventures
- Search String: Intellectual ADJ Ventures NOT((2711 Centerville Rd) OR (2215-B Renaissance Drive))
- 1640 Results
The next, and more difficult step, will be to vet all of the patent-holding entities to confirm whether or not they are IV shell companies. After removing known corporations and entities, we can check and see if the companies from any of these three searches have the following characteristics (not an exclusive list):
- reassigned patents to IV/ obtained patents from IV
- retained the same attorney or patent agents as IV or other potential IV shell companies
- engaged in litigation and disclosed any ties to IV or other potential IV shell companies
- employ officers that work at IV or other potential IV shell companies
- own patents that share the same inventor as IV patents or other potential IV shell companies
- maintained patent portfolios that complement IV’s portfolio or other potential IV shell companies
For example, David Martin Monro is listed as an inventor on multiple IV patents (e.g. US7907068, US7990289, US7974488). When we look at the list of patents for address 2215-B Renaissance Drive in Las Vegas, this same inventor is listed on patent US6990145, which is assigned to Ayscough Visuals LLC. Given that Ayscough Visuals shares an inventor with IV and the address of one of IV’s shell companies, Rose Blush, Ayscough is a potential IV shell company.
But we can dig deeper – if we look at the reassignment history of patent US6990145, we notice that Ayscough Visuals has another address in Los Altos – 171 Main Street #271. Guess what? This is the same address as the Los Altos office of Purple Mountain Server (see US7453752)!
As you can see, once we reveal more shell companies, this becomes an iterative process. With enough diligence, we can slowly unravel IV’s web of patents, as we compare the characteristics of each new potential IV shell company with former companies that we have vetted.