Pat Choate, noted political economist, filed a breach of contract lawsuit earlier this week against Intellectual Ventures, a patent aggregator, owner of approximately 30,000 patents, and plaintiff in numerous patent infringement lawsuits. According to a copy of the complaint obtained by GametimeIP.com, Choate was hired by IV to orchestrate opposition to the patent reform legislation in the 2005-08 time frame and beyond while “hid[ing IV] in the crowd” since its high-profile investors, like Bill Gates, supported patent reform.
Also revealed is IV’s connection to the surprising labor union opposition to patent reform. According to a 2007 PC World story, “the AFL-CIO, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), and the United Steelworkers — have sent letters to lawmakers saying they oppose two current patent reform bills.” The surprise had less to do with opposition to the bill, and more to do with the fact that organized labor had an opinion at all.
But according to Choate’s lawsuit:
Harter, on behalf of IV, arranged for Choate to meet with various companies, inventors and philanthropists to discuss the issue. IV quickly raised the initial funds, and Choate began his work on Plan B. As agreed by Choate and Harter, Choate’s role was to devise strategy and tactics, perform analysis, serve as an expert witness, and educate opponents of the legislation about its nuances. Because of Choate’s long-standing relationship with organized labor, Harter and Choate agreed that a primary focus of Choate’s efforts on behalf of Plan B was to work with organized labor to educate union leadership about the legislation and its harmful impact on job creation, and to facilitate union opposition against it.
(Lawsuit at pg. 6) (emphasis added)
In the 2007-08 time frame, patent reform continued to stall in Congress, and Choate was paid and further retained to lobby against patent reform legislation on behalf of IV and a 501(c)(4) organization that IV promised to form. Choate worked with reprsentatives of Patent Office Professional Association (POPA) and inventors groups in Nevada to help defeat the bill.
However, IV’s tune changed in 2009 when the damages provisions were modified, and IV actually held fund-raising events for patent reform booster Patrick Leahy. According to the Choate’s complaint, about $500,000 worth of his contract with IV has gone unpaid (possibly relating to IV’s change of heart) despite the fact that he was in the middle of a 25 month contract.
The breach of contract action was filed in US District Court in Washington, DC. Choate v. Intellectual Ventures, LLC, Case No. 1:11-cv-00528-CKK
- Intellectual Ventures Generated $700 Million In Revenues In 2010 (businessinsider.com)
- Patent firm Intellectual Ventures taps new general counsel (techflash.com)
- SAP inks patent licensing deal with Intellectual Ventures (techflash.com)
- Intellectual Ventures: Independence Day Take II (ipwatchdog.com)