441: When Patents Attack!

441: When Patents Attack!

Jul 22, 2011
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries. (Transcript)
We take you inside this war, and tell the fascinating story of how an idea enshrined in the US constitution to promote progress and innovation, is now being used to do the opposite.
  • NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees. (29 minutes)BusinessLegal System

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