Intellectual Ventures sues tech firms

Michael Carroll
10 Dec 2010

Patent holding firm Intellectual Ventures has bared its teeth for the first time, filing intellectual property infringement lawsuits against nine technology firms in the US.

The firm, founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has filed three separate suits, covering DRAM and flash memory and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) patents.

Its targets include security firms Symantec, Trend Micro and McAfee, chip supplier Hynix Semiconductor, and chip designer Altera.

Melissa Finocchio, Intellectual Ventures’ chief litigation counsel, said the firm acted to protect “our invention rights,” after failing to agree on licensing deals with the companies.

The lawsuits are “the right choice for our investors, inventors and current licensees,” she added.

It is the first time Intellectual Ventures, which was founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold a decade ago, has resorted to legal action, noted.

The firm, which has spent $5 billion on buying around 30,000 of technology patents, typically errs towards licensing deals with companies – a strategy that has earned it $2 billion so far.

Microsoft launched a bid to overhaul the way US patent laws are handled by county courts late last month, amid a growing number of patent disputes in the country.

The firm’s call for a review of the methods used to establish patent validity was backed by Apple, Google and General Motors, and could make it easier for companies to challenge patent ownership.

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