Uber-troll Intellectual Ventures faces Motorola in first patent trial

Intellectual Ventures’ laboratory in Bellevue, Washington.

Intellectual Ventures (IV) earns special attention in the world of “patent assertion entities” by dint of its size. Some so-called “patent trolls” have a few patents to their name, while others have a few dozen; IV has thousands. Some patent companies have just a few employees; IV has hundreds. It also owns a lab near Seattle, where it hosts “invention sessions” that include guests like Bill Gates.

In the early stages, IV marketed itself as a kind of patent defense fund, and it got tech-sector heavyweights like Google, Apple, eBay, and Cisco to invest. Since its founding in 2000, IV is believed to have raised about $6 billion in cash, of which it has recouped about $3 billion in licensing payments.

But the strategy of IV, headed by ex-Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, changed over time. As the company began looking for giant payouts, it became the bête noire of Silicon Valley rather than an ally. A few years ago, IV started filing lawsuits. Now one of its cases, over three smartphone patents, will go to a jury—a case against Google-owned Motorola, no less, a company known for its reluctance to settle cases.

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via Ars Technica http://ift.tt/1jsIQ9o

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