It’s like Darth Vader doing some charity work as he completes the Death Star. Intellectual Ventures, which is shaking down hundreds of companies with spurious patent lawsuits, now plans to use some of the money it squeezes from the tech industry to do some good.
In a new job posting, Intellectual Ventures is looking for a Seattle-based “Vice-President of Global Good” to lead a team devoted to “develop and deploy inventions to save lives” in the developing world.
Saving lives is commendable to be sure but anyone applying for this job better recognize that it would be a Faustian bargain.
For anyone unfamiliar with IV, the company has reeled in a fortune by gaming America’s broken patent system. It did so by acquiring thousands of patents and then inviting its victims to become “partners” in its investment fund. Those who refused to pay for a license are being sued by IV or by shell companies that it spawned such as Lodsys, the infamous patent troll that is suing app developers over in-app purchases.
Intellectual Ventures’ decision to impose its own personal tax on America’s technology system is diverting money away from the most vibrant sectors of economy and into the courtroom. Even its own investors are suffering. As Forbes reports, IV’s shareholders have so far been left holding a portfolio that looks closer to Bernie Madoff than to Apple or Google.
The future “VP of Global Good” will be hard-pressed then to carry out enough good works to offset the colossal harm or his or her employer. Unless, of course, they choose to close the company and reform the patent system.
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