John Paczkowski

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Patent Predator Intellectual Ventures Builds Up Lobbying Troops

Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold

Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold

Intellectual Ventures, the invention-capital firm/patent troll founded by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold, is ramping up its presence inside the Beltway.

IV, which has amassed thousands of patents over the past decade as part of its intellectual-property licensing business, recently tapped telecom lobbyist Russell Merbeth to establish an in-house lobbying team in Washington, D.C. Merbeth’s mandate, according to his lobbying registration: To represent IV on issues related to patent reform, intellectual-property rights, taxation of patent royalties and corporate tax reform.

An interesting, and inevitable, move for IV, whose lobbying spending rose from $440,000 to $1,040,000 between 2005 and 2012. With the Obama administration wading ever deeper into the debate over patent litigation and rolling out policies intended to better regulate patent-holding firms, opening a D.C. lobbying office is a wise move. As Merbeth, former vice president of government affairs at Cricket Communications, told the Washington Post, it’s time for IV to step up its game inside the Beltway.

IV_lobbying_spend“Intellectual Ventures has been active in Washington and after the America Invents Act was passed, IV wanted to standardize its public policy operations regardless of if there’s any legislation being considered at the moment,” Merbeth told AllThingsD. “IV will continue to have a consistent presence here in Washington to educate members of Congress and the administration.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik