Forbes: patent trollers fueled by hedge funds, private equity

Since we are awaiting a Vonage-Verizon patent infringement decision by end of today, this article I've just read has special relevance. None of the parties in this article are directly tied to Vonage, but I think you might appreciate a broader take on what is going on with all this patent suit stuff.

Since we are awaiting a Vonage-Verizon patent infringement decision by end of today, this article I've just read has special relevance. None of the parties in this article are directly tied to Vonage, but I think you might appreciate a broader take on what is going on with all this patent suit stuff. 

The current issue of Forbes magazine has an article that seems to infer that hedge funds, private equity as well as the one-off companies they have financial relationships or controlling interests in are largely behind the patent trolling craze.

In the article entitled "Patent Pirates" (free reg. req'd.) Forbes staff writer Nathan Vardi explores the interesting case of private equity firm Altitude Partners (founded with $250 million from hedge fund, Altitude's founder Robert Kramer (at right), and an Altitude-funded company named DeepNines.

After reading this article, you'll gain more of an understanding why some of these companies have become active in what some call patent trolling, and others call patent protection-seeking lawsuits.

"Sounds a lot like patent trolling, a much-vilified practice in which contingency lawyers or small companies with no operations sue businesses to extort money," writes Vardi. "But funds like Altitude insist they're asserting legitimate claims. "I don't get emotional about this issue," says Kramer, who used to be a managing director at a Fortress Investment Group hedge fund. "I am a financial investor."

Like someone said, "follow the money." 

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