Public radio’s This American Life this weekend will broadcast a sequel to its July 2011 investigation into the patent industry and Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue-based patent holding and technology company run by former Microsoft tech chief Nathan Myhrvold.
Judging from a description posted today on This American Life site, the piece — “When Patents Attack … Part Two!” — will delve further into questions about Oasis Research, a mysterious company at the center of the original piece. That first piece delved into business ties between Intellectual Ventures and Oasis, which had sued a variety of tech companies using patents acquired from Intellectual Ventures.
This American Life’s blurb for the new episode says: “About two years ago, we did a program about a mysterious business in Texas that buys up patents and then threatens other companies with lawsuits for violating those patents. A lot of stuff has happened since then, including some companies fighting back against this mysterious business. In the process, they’ve revealed all sorts of secrets about who’s behind it.”
The original piece brought the issues of technology patents more into the consciousness of the general public. Intellectual Ventures said at the time that it disagreed “fundamentally” with the This American Life piece, calling some of its conclusions and quotations “absurd.”
IV said at the time, “Sadly, they distracted listeners from the real issue – that ideas have value and inventors who invest time, money and emotional resources into protecting those ideas with patents have a right to recognize a return on their investments.”