Invention Fund

Q A lot of folks who don’t know your model have classified you as a patent troll. Not just anybody, but even Shane Robison, the chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard.

A That’s a strange thing. HP has a large group headed by a good guy named Joe Byers. They actively go out and demand royalties from companies for their patents. I’ve been told they make around $200 million a year. They have filed maybe a dozen lawsuits in the last 12 years. . . . It’s only fair for them to defray their R&D costs by asking people to pay for things. Because of the way the patent law works, you can ask people to pay or you can use a patent to exclude people.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with what HP does. But my God, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I don’t understand any difference whatsoever from HP inventing things and asking to get paid for them, and me eventually, someday, maybe I’m going to sue someone. I’ve never sued anyone. We have filed absolutely no lawsuits and have pretty significant revenues.

Nathan Myhrvold interview in the Merc, what he is doing with his new fund is actually pretty interesting. I loved the Perry Mason moment in the interview that I highlighted above.