Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Last night I turn to Mr S. and say - there isn't much going on in the Valley right now, but I do enjoy seeing them all sue each other lately.

He sort of looks at me confused. 

Me - Throughout the recession everything was "open source" (which is my code for not making money). If they are suing each other - they must believe they have something to protect. To me it feels like the Valley is gaining a shadow pulse. When they aren't suing each other - there isn't anything coming out of this place. It's part of the cycle.


  1. One interesting thing about American intellectual property law is the fact that it considers IP that's been undefended for a certain amount of time as "abandoned" ...

    It doesn't actually matter if some of these lawsuits actually win anything, just that the valuations in the IP portfolios continue to retain value.

    There may yet still be nothing at all of any value being created.

  2. Well, that is very true. But if they aren't willing to put some money behind it, then they truly have bupkis. I mean, the truth is a lot of this stuff is stolen anyway. I mean - "reverse engineered". Mr S. and I both have worked a ~bunch~ of startups in the day. And that is just Silicon Valley. I'm not saying it's right... but it is a lot of fun to watch. And hence the lawsuits. But until they start suing each other - they don't think they can make money on whatever it is they are selling.

  3. The money in this case might not be in startups, actually ...

    The money may be more easily obtained by "getting Borg'd" by some firm that wants to own a bigger IP portfolio.

    I know of several "tech startups" that have no core technical competencies and in fact do not have a single technical person on staff as an employee. They're operated by law firms that ventured into tech IP speculation, and they've built everything they have with small squads of tech mercs. Most of it strays dangerously into "proof-of-concept-ware", so much that when someone buys the stuff, they're better off building their own implementation of the purchased IP, and in fact all of the successful IP purchasers have done precisely that.

    All of them that I know of are located well away from the Bay Area.

    The only thing I can think of that could be worse would be dealing with an insurance company that decided to speculate in tech IP development, and that's because they'd purchase "re-insurance" and structure operations so they could externalise all of the risk. They'd never experience any blowback, allowing the speculation to fold up or to get sold on as is appropriate, making a good return on investment regardless of how fortunes go, but all of the purchasers and contractors involved with it would definitely have full exposure.

    Now imagine the lawsuits that could come out of that kind of situation.

    Again, this is probably not a sign of productive or value-creating activity.

  4. Yeah. I'm pretty familiar with patent trolls. This is Silicon Valley. Even they get taken down a few notches eventually.