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Computer Engineering Seminar

Slaying Trolls: Market Based Patent Reform and High Tech Inventors

Bill Mangione-Smith

The world of high tech intellectual property is undergoing significant turmoil. One of the most noteworthy developments has been the idea of patent trolls. A patent troll is an evil entity that owns a patent, never intends to make a product with it, and only wants to use it for extortion against clean-living companies. Or so so we've been told. Some companies have fought these agents of destruction through the courts and legislatures, with various degrees of success. But the real reason trolls exist is because most inventors are trapped: if they have good inventions that are being used in commercial products they have little choice but to litigate in order to get paid for their hard work. Another approach to slaying trolls, however, is make them less attractive by providing another avenue for inventors to have their work acknowledged. A small number of companies are taking this approach by developing an efficient market for high tech intellectual property. This talk will discuss some of the key issues related to trolls and these emerging markets.
Bill Mangione-Smith was born in Farmington Hills Michigan, spent eight years
in Ann Arbor Michigan, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a
Doctorate in Computer engineering. When he left town he had season tickets
on the fifty yard line, row 35 – in some ways life has been a slow decline
since. He worked for four years at Motorola in corporate research and on
wireless data projects, and was an architect on the first commercial PDA
capable of sending email over a wireless link. Subsequently he moved to
UCLA where he spent the next 10 years on the EE faculty, never setting foot
in the Rose Bowl once. In 1995 he moved to Seattle to join Intellectual
Ventures, where he serves as Director of Technology and oversees patent
portfolio evaluation and development, as well as acting as a named inventor
on over 50 patents.

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