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Saturday
Dec242005

We have met the enemy, and he is (one of) us.

Intellectual Ventures LLC may give us all a new sense of the term "IV", in that the direction of blood flow is likely to be the the "outward" direction. In the same issue of CIO Insight, they've included an interview with Peter Detkin, who is credited with coining the term "Patent Troll".

I've been told recently by more than one person that, while IV has been primarily in acquisition mode for the past years, the combination of their warchest and the IP portfolio they've built up is now sufficient for them to be a good deal more active in the desanguination of those companies unfortunate enough to be making use of "their IP." One question that has occurred to me recently is whether the companies which are limited partners in IV (see a partial list below) are immune from pursuit, or obtain a low-cost license? Is there a uniform licensing fee for the portfolio contents?

Link: Has the Enemy of Patent Trolls Become One?


In 2001, when he was assistant general counsel at Intel Corp., Peter Detkin famously coined the term "patent troll" to describe firms that acquire patents only to extract settlements from companies on dubious infringement claims. Today he is a managing director of Intellectual Ventures LLC, a Bellevue, Wash., firm some observers fear is itself a troll—on steroids. IV is a patent holding company with a war chest estimated at up to $400 million; for five years it has been acquiring thousands of patents.



Founded by Microsoft Corp. alumni Nathan Myhrvold and Edward Jung, the firm is reportedly backed by a cadre of tech giants including Microsoft, Sony Corp., Nokia Corp., Apple Computer Inc., Intel, eBay Inc. and Google Inc., each of which gains a nonexclusive license to the firm's patent portfolio. The fears and speculation stem, in part, from the cloak of secrecy the firm maintains."

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