What drives a former VP of Sales to buy already heavily licensed patents and assert them against small app developers?
Given the unique approach being taken by Lodsys against Apple developers, I have become curious as to the company's motivations. The publicly stated business model of "popularize the technology, have it used by many people and to make relatively small amounts per licensee, but to have the large volume of licensees aggregate to be a worthwhile business," would seem to fall apart quickly with a small bit of resistance via a declaratory judgement action.
In the case of Intellectual Ventures, as the relentless PR about Nathan Myhrvold reminds us, there is a backstory of invention and interest in innovation that explains the founding of a company related to patent assertion.
What about Lodsys? Simply put, Lodsys CEO Small does not appear to be the sort of person with an interest in intellectual property. Rather than an inventor, a technologist, an attorney, or a dinosaur-hunting freeze-drier of lobster tails, we have what appears to be a fairly bland sales VP. According to his LinkedIn profile:
"Mark Small CEO at Lodsys LLC Greater Chicago Area Information Technology and Services ...
CEO Lodsys LLC Information Technology and Services industry February 2011 – Present (4 months)
Strategic Advisor Independent Management Consulting industry September 2010 – Present (9 months)...
VP, Enterprise Sales North America Websense, Inc Public Company; WBSN; Computer Software industry October 2006 – July 2010 (3 years 10 months)
Responsible for North American Enterprise Sales organization
VP of Sales, Americas Code Green Networks, Inc. Privately Held; 201-500 employees; Computer & Network Security industry December 2005 – September 2006 (10 months)
Senior Vice President, Sales McAfee Public Company; MFE; Computer & Network Security industry October 1998 – November 2005 (7 years 2 months)...
University of California, Davis BA, Political Science, International Relations 1974 – 1979"
Perhaps Lodsys will take a lesson from IV and we'll soon be seeing breathless articles about Mr. Small's extracurricular activities that soften the disdain towards his business practices. At least until then, my curiosity about what is really going on will remain.